How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are hitting record figures throughout the U.S. and the majority of homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner works, the experts at Tokay Heating and Air Conditioning in Lodi 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 home at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner operates in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your cooling system has a more difficult job to manage. 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 quickly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to your outdoor unit where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core elements to your air conditioner unit: 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 inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air moves across the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil flows into the compressor which increases 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 released outdoors and the refrigerant is adapted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That accomplishes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an endless 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 talk about staying cool and comfortable in Lodi you can reach us at 209-257-3156. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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