How Do Air Conditioners Work?


The world has never been the same since the technological revolution. It has changed almost if not the entirety of human life. These triumphs of technology have occupied special positions in people’s daily lives, particularly in homes. But while you’re immersed in the joys of technological advancements, have you ever paused and wondered how all these came to be? At any moment during your DVD marathon, did it ever occur to you how those moving pictures made it to a small metal box? Or how a mobile phone defies distance and makes it possible for two persons to talk while they’re miles apart? Most wouldn’t give that much attention until it malfunctions. And one of the common appliances not given much thought in terms of how’s and why’s in function is the air conditioner. So how do air conditioners work? Read on to find out.

Contrary to popular belief, air conditioners do not produce cool air. Instead, they remove heat from the air circulating in the area. They work like refrigerators, except that the latter only cool a relatively small space and thereby require less powerful systems. To acquire an in-depth understanding of how air conditioners work, you must be able to identify the 3 major parts: the compressor, condenser and evaporator. All three coordinate smoothly to basically move heat around.

Air conditioners function through 5 processes namely compression, condensation, expansion, evaporation and heat transfer. It begins when Freon, a refrigerant liquid used as a heat exchange medium, enters the compressor in its gaseous state. Like an air pump, the compressor squeezes the refrigerant gas, increasing the pressure in the gas molecules. Such pressure will cause the molecules to collide against each other and in turn, release heat. This hot gas will then flow through the condenser. Since these stages involve a lot of heat production, there is no wondering that the compressor and condenser are located outdoors to disperse it by way of the exhaust fan.

Upon reaching the condenser, the Freon cools down and condenses into liquid. This liquid passes through a capillary tube into the evaporator and transforms into its cold, gaseous form. The Freon gas absorbs the warmth of the air passing over the evaporator coils thereby cooling it. The built-in fan will then blow cooled air out of the unit and left to circulate throughout the room. After that, the Freon returns to the compressor to repeat the whole process.

The air must reach the temperature to which the thermostat has been set. Unless this has been achieved, the entire cycle goes on.

Indeed, there is a science to everything. If you feed your curiosity, you’ll be able to appreciate these technological endowments more, take very good care of it and in turn, they just might last beyond your years.

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