How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record numbers around the states and most homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the team at Air-Right Energy Design, Inc. in Manassas thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science regarding keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly 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 soaks in heat from your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main sections 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 indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters 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 runs across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We realize that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Manassas contact us at 703-260-1148. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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