How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

The temperatures are hitting record figures around the country and the majority of homes are using some variety of air conditioner to beat the seasonal heat. While we are all grateful that your air conditioner is functioning, the experts at Kirkfield Heating & Air Conditioning in Winnipeg 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, but your air conditioner has a larger responsibility to tackle. Both your fridge and AC cool with a consistent loop of refrigerant, however with the air conditioner this refrigerant loops from inside to the outdoors. This refrigerant effortlessly alters from a liquid to gas and back to a liquid again. It goes into your home as a sub-cooled liquid and as it evaporates it soaks in heat from the indoors and turns back into vapor. This vapor then travels back to the unit outside where the heat is released and is then condensed back into a sub-cooled liquid.

Four Components

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

The evaporator coil is the location your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid into a super-heated vapor. This component can be located inside your home, in your garage or even in your attic. Warm air transports across 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 goes into the compressor which increases the pressure of the vapor until it is converted into hot, high pressure vapor. The hot vapor then enters back into the condenser coil where less hot outdoor air runs 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 through an expansion valve or metering device. The process is then repeated.

That completes your physics lesson of the day…your air conditioner runs on an relentless 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 chat about staying cool and comfortable in Winnipeg contact us at 204-272-8128. You’ll be able to get through this hot weather thanks to science and the support from our experts.

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