How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temperatures are hitting record highs across the U.S. and most homes are running some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the experts at KDM Service Corporation in Tuscaloosa would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your living space cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your cooling system has a larger responsibility to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core components to your air conditioner unit: 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 possibly in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Tuscaloosa contact us at 205-208-8090. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.