How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record highs across the country and most homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Summit Air Conditioning Inc in West Palm Beach 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 operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a larger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main 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 found inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then transferred 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 surges the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted 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 continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in West Palm Beach you can reach us at 561-582-3390. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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