How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is climbing to record highs across the states and most homes are using some variety of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Cytech Heating & Cooling L.C. in the Rio Grande Valley thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your cooling system has a larger job to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly 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 soaks in heat from your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements 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 established inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters 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 runs across the coil, heat is released 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 concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in the Rio Grande Valley give us a call at 956-381-1162. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.