How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is hitting record figures around the U.S. and many homes are using some type of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Farris Heating & Air in Bartlesville thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your cooling system has a larger job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your residence 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 central sections to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is where 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 even in your attic. Warm air transports across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides 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 moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves 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 through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Bartlesville give us a call at 918-534-8194. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.