How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record numbers around the U.S. and many homes are using some type of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Although we are all appreciative that your air conditioner works, the experts at Guidry's Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Service in Raceland wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science involved in keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your air conditioner has a larger task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your residence as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 central components to your cooling system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then moves back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs across the coil, heat is pushed outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted 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. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Raceland give us a call at 985-537-6795. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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