How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record highs throughout the U.S. and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Redhawk Heating & Air Conditioning in Odessa thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science behind keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and turns back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 core sections 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 found in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed 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 raises 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 moves across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil via 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 it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Odessa give us a call at 432-333-2208. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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