man relaxing in air conditioning

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are reaching record figures throughout the states and many homes are running some kind of air conditioner to beat the summer heat. Although we are all thankful that your air conditioner works, the team at Von Deylen Plumbing & Heating Inc. in Napoleon and Northwest Ohio would like to tell you how it works.

The Basics

There’s plenty of science involved in keeping your living space cool. Your air conditioner functions in a similar way to your refrigerator, however your AC has a bigger job to manage. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, in your air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to outside your home. This refrigerant effortlessly converts 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 soaks in heat from your indoor air and expands back into vapor. This vapor then moves back to your outdoor unit where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

There are 4 main elements to your air conditioner unit: 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 established inside your home, in your garage or possibly in your attic. Warm air transports through the cold evaporator coil and the heat is taken from the air. This cooled air is then released throughout your home.

Your compressor is located in your outdoor condensing unit. The super-heated vapor from your evaporator coil goes into the compressor which raises 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 released outdoors and the refrigerant is converted back into a sub-cooled liquid. This sub-cooled liquid is then returned to the indoor evaporator coil and through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That concludes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an endless loop of science. We know that it’s not as important to you how it works, but that it’s working. If you’d like to talk about staying cool and comfortable in Napoleon and Northwest Ohio give us a call at 419-592-4756 or set up an appointment using our online scheduler. With the help of our team and science we’re going to make it through this sweltering summer.