How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The weather is hitting record highs throughout the country and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to beat the smoldering heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the professionals at Morgner Incorporated Air Conditioning & Heating in Saint Louis thought they would give you a sneak peek at how an air conditioner operates.

The Basics

There’s a lot of science behind keeping your living space cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a more difficult job to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a constant loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to to the external part of your home. This refrigerant easily converts from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it takes in heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is let go and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main components to your air conditioner unit: a compressor, an evaporator coil, the condensing coil and an expansion valve.

The evaporator coil is the place your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be found indoors, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air passes through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor resides in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is transformed into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner operates on an relentless loop of science. We realize that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that you are staying cool. If you’d like to chat about staying cool and comfortable in Saint Louis give us a call at 314-961-0875. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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