How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record highs across the country and most homes are running some variety of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at All Elements Heating & Air LLC in Marshall would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a larger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 central components to your cooling 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 possibly in your attic. Warm air moves throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which surges 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 released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Marshall give us a call at 903-204-7354. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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