How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record highs across the U.S. and many homes are using some variety of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at Brogan Heating & AC Inc in Rochester would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your house at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a more difficult responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts 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 takes in heat from the indoors and turns back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main 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 sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which surges 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 moves across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Rochester contact us at 507-218-0088. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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