The popular season is in full swing with record heat across the country, and with many houses having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the best way to escape the sun. As you are relaxing in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner functions, let’s take a peek at how an average AC system works.
Your air conditioner operates the same way as your refrigerator, but understandably rather than keeping a small space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent loop from the outdoors to indoors. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and assembles or takes in heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is made of four main pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.
The part 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 in your garage. As warm indoor air is carried across the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooler air is driven throughout your house.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant flows to the compressor located in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where a lower amount hot air blows across the coil, removing heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is sent to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.
Your AC system is an endless loop of processes. We know the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s functioning the right way. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about remaining cool, give our technicians a call at 209-257-3156. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to ensure you happy this summer.