How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record figures across the states and the majority of homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the team at Hale's Air Conditioning Services Inc in Pinellas County thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a bigger task to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place 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 transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Pinellas County contact us at 727-369-6195. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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