How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record numbers throughout the country and many homes are using some type of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the professionals at Select Comfort System Heating & Air Conditioning in West Valley would like to teach you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a larger task to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly converts 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 takes in heat from the indoors and reverts back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements to your AC 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 found inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air moves through 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 raises 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 moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in West Valley contact us at 801-305-4777. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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