How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are reaching record figures around the states and the majority of homes are using some type of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Farnell Heating & Air Conditioning Inc in Mobile would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a larger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house 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 let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your cooling 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 in the home, in your garage or sometimes 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 the space inside your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted 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 converted 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 concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Mobile contact us at 251-471-2674. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.