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How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is climbing to record numbers throughout the states and most homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the team at Controlled Comfort HVAC Inc in Carpentersville wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a larger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly changes 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 the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to your outdoor unit 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 cooling 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 indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout 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 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 then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending 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 talk about staying cool and comfortable in Carpentersville give us a call at 224-412-8308. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.