The popular season has arrived with record highs across the country, and with the vast majority of homes having some sort of air conditioner, it’s the ideal way to beat the heat. As you are sitting in your comfortably cool home or office, appreciating that your air conditioner functions, let’s look at how a typical central heating and cooling system works.
Your air conditioner runs the similar to your refrigerator, but obviously instead of keeping a small space cool, it has to effectively provide cooler air to your whole home. Both use a refrigerant that adapts swiftly from liquid to gas, back to liquid again. In your air conditioner, the refrigerant is on a constant circle from the outdoors to the interior of your house. It goes into the interior as a sub-cooled liquid that evaporates and gathers or soaks up heat from the air within your house, expands back into vapor, then back to the outside condensing unit where it dissipates the heat and is switched back to a sub-cooled liquid.
Your AC system is built of four critical components: an evaporator coil, a compressor, a condensing coil, and an expansion valve or metering device.
The piece where your refrigerant evaporates from a sub-cooled liquid to a super-heated vapor is called the evaporator coil, which may be inside your home, 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 colder air is driven among your home.
From the evaporator coil, the now super-heated vapor refrigerant goes back to the compressor located in your outside condensing unit. The compressor enhances the pressure of the vapor until it turns into a hot, high pressure vapor. The now super-hot vapor enters the condenser coil where less hot air blows past the coil, eliminating the heat to the outdoors, and returns the refrigerant to a sub-cooled liquid. The sub-cooled liquid refrigerant is pushed to the indoor evaporator coil where, through an expansion valve or metering device, the process is replicated.
Your AC system is a constant loop of physics at work. We understand the important thing to you isn’t really how it works, but that it’s operating the right way. If you’d like to think about the process or just about keeping cool, give our experts a call at 530-885-8081. We will team up with you and the laws of physics to ensure you comfortable this season.