How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is hitting record figures throughout the U.S. and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. Though we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Bell Air Conditioning Inc. in Belton thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

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 bigger job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and reverts 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 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 established inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed 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 enters into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves 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 through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an endless 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 Belton you can reach us at 254-307-9572. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.