How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are climbing to record highs across the states and most homes are running some kind of air conditioner to battle the smoldering heat. Though we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at The Frazier Company in Omaha wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science behind keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult task to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly changes 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 soaks in heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves 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 elements 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 found indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

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

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Omaha give us a call at 402-628-0206. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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