How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are reaching record highs around the country and many homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Integrity AC & Heating LLC in Phoenix would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a larger job to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant easily converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your home 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 transfers 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 main components to your air conditioner unit: 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 inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits 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 converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Phoenix contact us at 602-971-0567. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.