How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is hitting record numbers throughout the country and most homes are utilizing some kind of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Although we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the team at Air Pro Heating & Cooling LLC in Vancouver thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science behind keeping your living space at a comfortable temperature. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, but your AC has a larger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from inside the home and reverts 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 cooling system: 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 located inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your home.

Your compressor sits 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 converted 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 moved outdoors and the refrigerant is changed back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil by an expansion valve or metering device. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner functions on an endless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as top-priority to you how it works, but just the fact it’s running. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Vancouver you can reach us at 360-571-5100 or set up an appointment using our online scheduler. Thanks to science and our pros, you’ll get through this hot summer.

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