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How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are climbing to record figures around the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the professionals at PWA Heating & Cooling Inc in Plainfield wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to your outdoor unit where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements to your AC system: 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 established indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which surges 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 then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner runs on an relentless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Plainfield you can reach us at 815-410-1231. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.