Summer has arrived with record highs across the country, and with many houses having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to get out of the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner functions, let’s take a peek at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.
Your air conditioner works the just like your refrigerator, but clearly rather than keeping a small space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent loop from the exterior to the interior of your house. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from your indoor air, expands back into vapor, then heads to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is made of four key pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.
The component where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be indoors, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the colder air is blown within your home.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor stationed in your outside condensing unit. The compressor increases the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where less hot air blows past the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.
Your air conditioner is an endless loop of processes. We know the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s working successfully. If you’d like to talk science or just about keeping cool, give our professionals a call at 951-299-9853. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you happy this time around.