Work of an Air Conditioner

What really is the Work of an Air Conditioner (AC)?

An air conditioner in a room or a device collects hot air from one room, processes it with the aid of a refrigerant and a system of coils, and then releases cold air into the same room where the hot air was stored.

This processing is primarily accomplished by the use of five factors:

  • Evaporator
  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Expansion valve
  • Refrigerants

Imagine standing outside on a scorching summer day, doing godforsaken errands that can no longer be delayed. The sun is oppressive, and it looks like the hottest day on the planet since life began. But there’s one thing that makes you alert: knowing that you’ll be in your air-conditioned home in an hour.

It’s finally time: you unlock the door and walk into your home. You suddenly feel better when a gust of cold air envelops every cell of the body.

Though previous generations had fans and other ways to stay cool on hot days, they were never as astonishingly powerful as modern air conditioners in terms of sheer cooling capability. I am sure you have all had this experience at least once in your life: the “cooling boom” that air conditioners have introduced into human culture cannot be underestimated.

We’ll talk about air conditioners in this post, and what they do – and how they do it – to make them almost a must in cities.

AC Components

Window systems and split systems, which are further categorized into mini-split and core systems, are the two major types of air conditioning systems. They are often referred to as window air conditioners or split air conditioners in everyday language.

All air conditioners have four main components, which are described below, regardless of the type of installation:

Evaporator

An evaporator is a heat exchanger coil that uses a refrigerant gas to absorb heat from the interior of a room. The liquid refrigerant absorbs heat and evaporates into gas in this part, which is known as an evaporator.

Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, such as R-410A, chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, such as R-22, and hydrocarbons, such as R-290, are the most common refrigerant gases used in air conditioning systems. This gas absorbs heat from the surrounding environment and transports it to the next component for further refining.

Compressor

The water vapor refrigerant is squeezed here, as the name suggests. It’s in the outside unit, which is the element that’s mounted on the exterior of the home.

Condenser

The condenser collects the compressor’s evaporated refrigerant, transforms it back to a liquid, and discharges the heat to the outside. It is, of course, also found on the split AC’s outside unit.

Valve for expansion

The expansion valve, also known as a throttle mechanism, is situated between the two coils, the evaporator’s cooling coils, and the condenser’s hot coils. It regulates the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator.

The three components listed above are all housed in a small metal box that is mounted in a window opening in the case of window air conditioners.

An air conditioner’s main components are these. Let’s have a look at how they all work together to make an air conditioner work.

The air conditioner’s working principle

An air conditioner absorbs hot air from a room, cools it off with the aid of a refrigerant and a set of coils, and then returns the cool air to the same room. This is how all air conditioners operate.

Disproving the myth

Many people assume that an air conditioner produces chilled air with the aid of machines mounted in it and that this air will easily cool a room. This may also help to understand why it uses so much power. In fact, however, this is a blunder. An air conditioner is not a mystical device; it simply cools a room by using certain physical and chemical phenomena.

What happens when you turn on the air conditioner?

When you turn on an air conditioner and set the target temperature, say 20 degrees Celsius, the thermostat built in it will sense a temperature differential between the room air and the temperature you have selected.

This warm air is drawn in through a grill at the bottom of the indoor unit and then circulated through pipes that carry the refrigerant, or coolant. The heat is absorbed by the refrigerant solution, which then turns into a hot gas. As a result, the heat from the air that falls on the evaporator coils is lost. Not only does the evaporator coil absorb heat, but it also removes moisture from the incoming air, helping to dehumidify the room.

The hot refrigerant gas is then transferred to the compressor, which is situated outside the building. The compressor compresses the gas to make it hotter, as compression raises the temperature of the gas.

The third part, the condenser, receives this hot high-pressure gas. The condenser does its job here as well, condensing the hot gas into a liquid.

The refrigerant enters the condenser as hot gas, but the heat from the “hot gas” is easily dissipated into the atmosphere through metal fins, resulting in a cooler liquid. As a result, as the refrigerant exits the condenser, it loses its heat and becomes a colder liquid. This passes into an expansion pipe, which is a tiny hole in the copper tubing of the device that regulates the flow of the cold liquid refrigerant through the evaporator, bringing the refrigerant back to where it started.

The fundamental cooling mechanism of window air conditioners remains the same, including the fact that all elements used in the air conditioning process are housed in the same metal enclosure.

The entire process keeps repeating itself until the target temperature is achieved. In a nutshell, an air conditioner that sucks in warm air cools it and then forces it out into the atmosphere until there is no more warm air to cool.

It’s interesting that, as reliant as we are on air conditioning, it wasn’t built with human comfort in mind. The aim of the first industrial air conditioning system was to solve certain issues with a publisher’s manufacturing processes! Isn’t it incredible that a computer designed to facilitate the large-scale printing of newspapers will one day become an important part of any modern household?

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