How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record numbers throughout the states and most homes are running some type of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Twin Air LLC in Manassas thought they would give you a look at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant quickly 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 your indoor air and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to your outdoor unit where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your AC 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 established inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken 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 flows into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is moved outdoors and the refrigerant is converted 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 process is continually repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Manassas give us a call at 703-754-1062. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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