How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The summer season has arrived with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to get out of the heat. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner runs well, let’s take a peek at how a normal AC system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the similar to your refrigerator, but clearly compared to keeping a small space cool, it has to cool your entire home. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular ring from the outdoors to indoors. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or absorbs heat from your indoor air, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four critical pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The part where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is carried across the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooled air is driven among your indoor space.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows past the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is pushed to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.

Your AC system is a consistent loop of movement. We understand the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to talk science or just about staying cool, give our experts a call at 478-202-3076. We will work with you and the laws of physics to ensure you cool this time around.