How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record highs around the country and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the team at Accurate Heating & Cooling LLC in Pekin wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science regarding keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a bigger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core elements 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 located indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which increases 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 runs across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Pekin contact us at 309-392-4786. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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