How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record highs across the states and many homes are running some kind of air conditioner to combat the smoldering heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the team at Air Houston Mechanical LLC in Huffman wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a more difficult task to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place 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 transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides 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 transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an relentless 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 discuss staying cool and comfortable in Huffman you can reach us at 832-777-1521. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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