Summer is in full swing with record highs across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the best way to get out of the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner functions, let’s gain some insight at how a normal cooling system functions.
Your air conditioner operates the same way as your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a little space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent loop from the outside to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or soaks up heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is built of four critical parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.
The component where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside your home, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the colder air is blown among your house.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor stationed in your outside condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows past the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and switches the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.
Your AC system is an endless loop of physics at work. We realize the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s operating correctly. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our professionals a call at 361-265-4371. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to ensure you comfortable this summer.