air conditioner analysis


How Air Conditioners Really Work


Have You ever wondered how air conditioners really work? Most people do not think about it but air conditioners are no different than a refrigerator, only bigger in sense of cooling area. Both cool the air in an area as well as extract the hot air and remove it from the space. An air conditioner, of course, doesn’t just cool the air to a particular temperature but also possesses larger and more powerful equipment.

An air conditioner works on the 3 basic concepts of refrigeration: Heat always moves from warm to cold spaces, the boiling point of a refrigerant changes depending on the pressure exerted, and a refrigerant will boil and absorb heat from the surrounding area when the area is warmer than itself. Also, the higher is the pressure the boiling point is also increased, while lower pressure results in lower boiling point; while in case the surrounding area is cooler compared to the refrigerant as it boils then the refrigerant will condense and become a liquid, thus losing heat.

The next things to consider are the parts of an air conditioning unit, namely a compressor, a condenser and an evaporator. An air-conditioner’s cooling process begins when the liquid in the air conditioner first enters its compressor in a gaseous state, following which the compressor increases the gas pressure that causes the gas molecules to collide until their temperature is increased considerably under considerable pressure. After this the hot and pressurized gas enters the condenser and as it leaves the condenser, the temperature is lowered significantly, and due to the high pressure and the low temperatures the gas becomes liquid.

Here the important thing to consider is that as the process creates a lot of heat the compressor as well as the condenser, which are usually located outside the home, prevent the applied heat from increasing internal temperatures and is blown out from the air conditioner's external unit through the exhaust fan and radiator fins.

The liquid from the condenser then enters the evaporator, usually located inside the house, through a tiny hole that lets a little amount of liquid to pass through at a time. Here the liquid converts back into its original gaseous state and thus begins to evaporate. As it evaporates it also extracts the heat from the air and cools it, which is then expelled out of the air conditioner and circulates across the house through the ducts and other vents. This is a key component as to how air conditioners really work.

The hot gas then makes its way back to the compressor at a lower pressure and goes through the same process all over again and the cooling process continues until the thermostat detects the room is at a proper temperature. A thermostat is built into the air conditioning unit and continuously monitors the room temperature.

The thermostat turns the air conditioner off once the proper temperature is achieved and turns the unit on once the temperature begins to climb. This is common to most of the air conditioning units like central air conditioners and room air conditioners. Room air conditioners are, however, more compact while split- system air conditioners are divided into two units.

So now you know basic idea how air conditioners really work. Hence if you happen to have a problem with yours you may be able to fix it yourself.


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