How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is hitting record highs throughout the U.S. and most homes are running some type of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Scott Temperature in Lawrence wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science behind keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, with your AC 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 goes into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 elements to your AC 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 indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout the space inside your home.

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

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Lawrence contact us at 785-269-0465. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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