How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is reaching record numbers around the U.S. and many homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to combat the smoldering heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the team at Tri City Fuel & Heating Co., Inc. in West Columbia thought they would give you a glance at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your cooling system has a larger responsibility to tackle. 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 flows 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 the unit located outdoors where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 central sections to your cooling 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 possibly in your attic. Warm air moves throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your home.

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

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in West Columbia you can reach us at 803-265-4208. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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