How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016
man relaxing on sofa

The temps are climbing to record figures throughout the states and the majority of homes are using some kind of air conditioner to combat the smoldering heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Winters Heating and Cooling in Franklin & South Indy want to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however, your cooling system has a more difficult job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and turns back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core sections to your AC system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil, and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage, or sometimes in your attic. Warm air is transported throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high-pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on a never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not a top priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Franklin & South Indy you can reach us at 317-406-5382. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.