How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to get out of the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner works, let’s take a peek at how an average cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner works the just like your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a single space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that converts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent ring from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or absorbs heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is built of four main components: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The part where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved across the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the colder air is pushed among your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor stationed in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where less hot air blows by the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your air conditioner is a constant loop of movement. We understand the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our technicians a call at 913-432-3342. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you cool this time around.

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