How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The popular season has arrived with record temps across the country, and with a lot households having some type of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner runs well, let’s gain some insight at how an average cooling system functions.

The Basics

Your air conditioner runs the just like your refrigerator, but obviously compared to keeping a small space cool, it has to cool your entire home. Both use a refrigerant that changes swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a consistent loop from the outside to the interior of your house. It goes into the house as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or soaks up heat from your indoor air, expands back into vapor, then returns to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.

The Components

Your AC system is made of four key pieces: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.

The component 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 in your garage. As warm indoor air is moved throughout the cold evaporator coil, heat is detached from the air…and the colder air is driven among your house.

From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor stationed in your outdoor condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it shifts into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where less hot air blows across the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is pushed to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is repeated.

Your HVAC system is a consistent loop of movement. We know the important thing to you likely isn’t what happens behind the scenes, but that it’s functioning successfully. If you’d like to know the inner workings or just about remaining cool, give our experts a call at 520-201-3871. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you comfortable this summer.

Back To Blog