How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is hitting record figures throughout the U.S. and most homes are using some kind of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the team at McNatt Inc in Robstown thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your cooling system has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from the indoors and turns 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 components to your cooling 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 located indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated 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 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 released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Robstown you can reach us at 361-247-0605. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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