How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temps are climbing to record numbers around the states and many homes are using some type of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. While we are all thankful that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Hillcrest Air Conditioning & Plumbing in Bakersfield wants to give you a glimpse at just how an AC system works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science involved in keeping your home cool. Your air conditioner operates in a comparable way to your refrigerator, however your cooling system has a larger job to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant easily changes 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 takes in heat from inside the home and expands back into vapor. This vapor then transfers back to the unit located outdoors where the heat is freed and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main components to your cooling 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 found in the home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is separated from the air. This cooled air is then transferred throughout the space inside your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil enters into the compressor which surges the pressure of the vapor until it is converted 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 moved outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid returns to the indoor evaporator coil via an expansion valve or metering device. This continues repeatedly throughout the process.

That concludes your physics lesson today…your air conditioner operates on an endless loop of science. We understand that it’s not as crucial to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to discuss staying cool and comfortable in Bakersfield you can reach us at 661-437-3499. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.

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