How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are hitting record highs around the country and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner works, the experts at Bon Air Service Company in Grand Prairie wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your house cooler. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a larger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily 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 your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is freed 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 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 sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor resides 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 transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner runs on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Grand Prairie you can reach us at 972-332-1028. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.