How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record figures throughout the states and most homes are running some kind of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Although we are all appreciative that your air conditioner runs, the team at C-N-O Comfort Zone in Saint Peters thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, with your AC 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 flows into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your AC 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 found in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air moves through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed 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 moved outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Saint Peters you can reach us at 636-578-1777. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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