How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is hitting record figures throughout the states and the majority of homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to battle the seasonal heat. Though we are all grateful that your air conditioner works, the professionals at Oak Grove Heating & Air Conditioning in Hattiesburg wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a bigger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant quickly alters 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 absorbs heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 central components to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is changed 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 pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Hattiesburg contact us at 601-292-9763. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.