Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

What Are the Four Known, Common Refrigeration Cycles?

Have you ever wondered how AC refrigeration cycles work? You may know a bit about the refrigerant itself, but how does it make cold air flow into your home? Here are the four components of refrigeration cycles.

  • Compressor. Your AC’s refrigerant takes several different forms over the course of the refrigeration cycles. It begins its journey as a low-pressure vapor. At low pressure, though, it doesn’t move very fast. In order to flow through the rest of the system, it needs to become pressurized. That’s what the compressor does. It raises the temperature of the refrigerant, turning it into a high-pressure gas as it flows to the next stage.
  • Condenser. As the hot, high-pressure gas flows through the condenser coil, it’s condensed into a liquid. Simultaneously, the heat is absorbed by the surrounding air, turning the liquid refrigerant cold. In a heat pump, that hot air would be what’s pumped into your home. In your AC, it’s vented outside instead.
  • Expansion Valve. The cold, liquid refrigerant is still at a very high pressure, and due to the work of the compressor, it’s moving very quickly through your system. However, in order to finish its job, it now needs to move more slowly. The expansion valve’s job is to lessen that pressure and slow down the refrigerant before it reaches the next stage. This can also be done using a capillary tube, which bottlenecks the liquid, giving it a smaller opening to flow through.
  • Evaporator. For the final stage in the refrigeration cycle, the liquid refrigerant must turn back into a gas. The evaporator is what does this. As the cold, liquid refrigerant evaporates, it absorbs the heat from the surrounding air. The refrigerant heats up, but the air cools down. This cold air is what gets pumped into your home. Meanwhile, the hot, low-pressure refrigerant gas flows back into your compressor, and the cycle begins again.

To learn more about refrigeration cycles and how they work in your home, contact us at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company. Yuma trusts us for quality heating and cooling solutions.