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How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The weather is hitting record highs around the states and most homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Though we are all grateful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at JTech Mechanical in Magnolia wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a larger responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs heat from inside the home and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is released 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 the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor sits in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air moves 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 via an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We know 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 Magnolia contact us at 281-231-8768. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.