How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record highs around the U.S. and many homes are using some kind of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the professionals at Wallpe Heating & Cooling in Greensburg wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner runs in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a larger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly alters 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 soaks in heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements to your air conditioner unit: 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 established indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air moves through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

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 transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters 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 then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Greensburg give us a call at 812-638-4232. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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