How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are reaching record figures throughout the country and most homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the professionals at Patterson & Stirling Inc in Erie 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 house cool. Your air conditioner runs in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your cooling system has a bigger job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your residence 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 freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core 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 established in the home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor is located 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 converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters 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 then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Erie you can reach us at 814-833-5558. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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