How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record figures throughout the country and many homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at Cytech Heating & Cooling in the Upper Rio Grande Valley thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly converts 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 your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central components to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is changed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes 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. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner runs 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 the Upper Rio Grande Valley contact us at 956-630-3522. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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