How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The summer season has arrived with record heat across the country, and with a lot households having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner runs well, let’s take a peek at how an average central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the same way as your refrigerator, but obviously compared to keeping a small space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular ring from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or soaks up heat from your indoor air, 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 key components: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The piece where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside your home, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved over the cold evaporator coil, heat is pulled from the air…and the cooled air is blown throughout your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor meets the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows across the coil, eliminating the 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 replicated.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of processes. We understand the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating successfully. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about staying cool, give our experts a call at 203-357-5913. We will work with you and the laws of physics to ensure you happy this time around.