How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record highs around the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Rescue Heating & Air in Alice thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a more difficult task to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 main components to your cooling system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the location your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be established in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated 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 pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is changed 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 completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Alice give us a call at 361-265-4371. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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