The summer season is here with record temps across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the most effective way to get out of the heat. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, grateful that your air conditioner works, let’s gain some insight at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.
Your air conditioner runs the same way as your refrigerator, but clearly rather than keeping a single space cool, it has to work to cool down your whole house. Both use a refrigerant that changes simply from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant ring from the outside to the inside of your home. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or takes in heat from your indoor air, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is transferred back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is built 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 indoors, in your attic, or situated in the garage. As warm indoor air is moved across the cold evaporator coil, heat is removed from the air…and the cooler air is blown among your home.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor increases 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 by the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and switches 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 repeated.
Your HVAC system is an endless loop of movement. We realize the important thing to you likely isn’t what happens behind the scenes, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about staying cool, give our professionals a call at 815-410-1128. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to confirm you cool this time around.