How Air Conditioners Work

April 6, 2015

Refrigerators and air conditioners work in almost the same way. However, the latter work by cooling a whole room, as opposed to a small, insulated space. The chemicals used easily change state and are used to transfer heat from the interior of a house to the outside air.
How Air Conditioners Work

The machine is comprised of three main parts, namely the condenser, compressor and evaporator. The first two components are located outside the structure of the main unit, while the evaporator is placed inside the house, sometimes as part of the heating mechanism (furnace).
The fluid comes into the compressor in the form of a cool gas at low pressure. The compressor then squeezes the fluid, thus packing its molecules compactly. This process raises the fluid’s temperature and energy.

The fluid then exits the compressor in the form of a hot gas at high pressure and is channeled into the condenser. An AC’s exterior has metal fins all round it, which help dissipate the heat rapidly. Upon exiting the compressor, the fluid’s temperature is much lower and has transformed from a gas into a liquid, at higher pressure. This finds its way into the evaporator via a tiny aperture. The pressure of the liquid dips on the other side, which makes it evaporate into gaseous form. While this goes on, the liquid extracts heat from the air surrounding it.
When the working fluid exits the evaporator, it’s usually in the form of a cool gas at low pressure. It’s then returned to the compressor where the processor starts all over again. The evaporator is equipped with a fan which circulates the air inside the house so that it blows across its fins. Since hot air is lighter than cool air, it rises to the top of the room where there’s a vent that sucks the air into the AC’s ducts. Here, a heat exchange process occurs after which the air is blown into the house via the ducts located at the floor level.

This process goes on until the room’s desired temperature is attained. This is usually set at the thermostat, which turns off the unit when this happens. When the room starts warming up again, the thermostat starts the AC once again.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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