How Do Air Conditioners Work?

How Do Air Conditioners Work

We all know that air conditioners can provide you cool air during even the hottest months, but you might be wondering how they actually work. Air conditioners consist of three main components. These components are the compressor, condenser, and an evaporator coil. The compressor and condenser are usually located outside the house while the evaporator coil is located in the house, usually attached to the furnace or air handler.

With these three main components, the air conditioner also uses a refrigerant. This refrigerant is a chemical that can easily be converted from a gas to a liquid state. This chemical is what is used to transfer the heat from the inside of the house outside through copper tubing typically called line sets.

So how does this all work together? The compressor, which is located in the air conditioner unit, compresses the refrigerant and pushes into the condenser. The condenser is also located outside in the air conditioner unit and works just like a car's radiator and helps to remove heat from the refrigerant.

After leaving the condenser, the refrigerant is a lot colder turning it into a liquid under the high pressure. The refrigerant sent into the house through the line set and sprayed into the evaporator coil through a small nozzle. The pressure then drops and the refrigerant turns into a gas. As the refrigerant turns from a liquid to a gas state, it pulls heat from the air around it leaving the air cooler than what it was before. The refrigerant then returns to the compressor through the line set and begins the cycle again.

While the above process is going on, your furnace or air handler is blowing air across the evaporator coil. So the evaporator coil is pulling heat from the air and leaving cooler air that is then blown throughout your house through your ductwork. The evaporator coil can remove as much as 30-40° F of the air temperature while it is being blown passed it. This entire process is repeated until your house reaches the desired temperature that you have set.

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