How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record numbers around the states and many homes are utilizing some variety of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the experts at Jett's Heating & Air Inc. in McHenry wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your house cool. Your air conditioner runs in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a more difficult responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant easily alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It enters your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit outside where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 core sections to your air conditioner unit: 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 found in the home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports throughout 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 goes 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 then goes back to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That completes your physics lesson for now…your air conditioner runs on an never-ending loop of science. We understand that it’s not as important to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in McHenry you can reach us at 815-410-1128. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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