How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

July 18, 2016

The temps are hitting record figures throughout the states and most homes are using some variety of air conditioner to combat the seasonal heat. While we are all appreciative that your air conditioner runs, the experts at Tri County Climate Control LLC in Bend would like to inform you how it works.

The Basics

There’s a plethora of science regarding keeping your home cooler. Your air conditioner functions in a parallel way to your refrigerator, of course your air conditioner has a bigger responsibility to handle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a reoccurring loop of refrigerant, with your AC this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly changes from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It flows into your house as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it absorbs 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 central components to your AC system: 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 established inside your home, in your garage or sometimes in your attic. Warm air passes throughout the cold evaporator coil and the heat is removed from the air. This cooled air is then sent throughout your indoor space.

Your compressor is located 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 goes back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air flows across the coil, heat is pushed 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. This process is continually repeated.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an relentless loop of science. We understand 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 Bend you can reach us at 541-238-2797. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.