Not accepting new customers at this time

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

Summer has arrived with record temps across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to escape the sun. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how an average cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner operates the same way as your refrigerator, but obviously rather than keeping a little space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that converts easily from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a regular circle from the exterior to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or absorbs heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is created out of four critical pieces: 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, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooler air is pushed within your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor stationed in your outside condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where less hot air blows across the coil, moving heat to the outdoors, and returns the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is pushed to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your air conditioner is an endless loop of movement. We know the important thing to you might not be how your AC operates, but that it’s operating correctly. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our professionals a call at 916-243-6714. We will work with you and the laws of physics to ensure you comfortable this time around.