How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The summer season is here with record heat across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the best way to beat the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner functions, let’s take a peek at how a normal cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the similar to your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a small space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that changes easily from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant ring from the outside to indoors. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects 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 transferred back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is made of four critical parts: 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 situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the cooled air is driven among your indoor space.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor stationed in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a smaller amount hot air blows across the coil, removing 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 redone.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of physics at work. We understand the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s working successfully. If you’d like to think about the process or just about remaining cool, give our experts a call at 850-682-5509. We will team up with you and the laws of physics to keep you cool this summer.

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