How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season is here with record highs across the country, and with many houses having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to beat the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the similar to your refrigerator, but understandably rather than keeping a little 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 circle from the outside to indoors. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is made of four main 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, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown across the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooled air is blown among your home.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor increases the pressure of the vapor until it changes 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 switches 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 redone.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of movement. We understand the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s working the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our technicians a call at 949-525-9119. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you happy this summer.

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