How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record highs across the states and many homes are using some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner works, the team at Cool Air Solutions in Murrieta thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science behind keeping your living space cool. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a bigger job to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily 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 your indoor air and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels 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 elements 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 located inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor sits 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 runs across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted 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 concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We realize 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 Murrieta contact us at 951-299-9853. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

Back To Blog