Summer is here with record heat across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some kind of air conditioner, it’s the best way to escape the sun. As you are unwinding in your comfortably cool home or office, thankful that your air conditioner works, let’s gain some insight at how a normal AC system works.
Your air conditioner runs the just like your refrigerator, but obviously compared to keeping a single space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole 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 regular ring from the exterior to the interior of your house. It goes into the home as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and collects or absorbs heat from the air in your home, expands back into vapor, then heads to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is changed back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is created out of four main parts: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.
The part where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside, in your attic, or located in the garage. As warm indoor air is blown over the cold evaporator coil, heat is pulled from the air…and the cooled air is pushed among your house.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant returns to the compressor located in your exterior condensing unit. The compressor raises the pressure of the vapor until it changes into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor goes into the condenser coil where less hot air blows past the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and changes the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is returned to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is redone.
Your AC system is a consistent loop of physics at work. We understand the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s working correctly. If you’d like to talk science or just about staying cool, give our experts a call at 256-270-1196. We will partner with you and the laws of physics to keep you comfortable this season.