How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is climbing to record highs across the country and many homes are utilizing some type of air conditioner to battle the summer heat. Although we are all appreciative that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Jett's Heating & Air Inc. in McHenry would like to inform you how it 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, of course your AC has a more difficult responsibility to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly 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 absorbs heat from the indoors and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to your outdoor unit where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main sections to your AC system: 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 located inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your indoor space.

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 moves 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 operates on an never-ending loop of science. We know that it’s not as crucial 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 815-459-4700 or arrange an appointment using our online scheduler. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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