How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record figures throughout the country and many homes are running some kind of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Thornberry Bros Inc in Winchester wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a similar way to your refrigerator, of course your AC has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers 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 central components to your AC system: 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 established indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits 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 goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Winchester you can reach us at 859-745-1564. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

Back To Blog