How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record numbers across the states and the majority of homes are running some kind of air conditioner to combat the summer heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the professionals at The Frazier Company in Omaha would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your air conditioner has a more difficult job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs 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 components to your cooling system: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the location your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located indoors, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air moves 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 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 converted 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. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner functions on an relentless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Omaha contact us at 402-896-5900. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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