How Does an Air Conditioner Work?
Air conditioners remove heat and humidity from your home. They cool the air using refrigerants that have a superpower: they can go back and forth from liquid to gas.
Warm indoor air blows across a cold evaporator coil in the air conditioner, cooling it as the refrigerant turns from liquid to gas. The cooled air is returned to the home.
What is an Air Conditioner?
Air conditioners are electrical devices that cool the air in rooms, homes, buildings or vehicles by removing heat from the indoor environment and expelling it outdoors. They do this by using electricity to circulate a special chemical called refrigerant through a series of coils. The cooling process is a bit like the way your refrigerator works, but on a much larger scale and with different working components.
Most air conditioners also dehumidify the cooled air to improve comfort by eliminating excessive moisture in the indoor air. This is especially important in humid climates. The dehumidification Air conditioner function is often performed by a separate device called an air cooler or evaporative cooler.
Home air conditioning systems take several forms from large central systems with outdoor compressors to small plug-in units that stand on the floor or mount in your window. However, they all use the same basic working principles.
As warm indoor air is blown across the cold evaporator coils in an indoor unit, the refrigerant absorbs the heat, turning it from a liquid to a hot vapor. The hot vapor then passes through the condenser coil where it releases the heat into the outdoor air. As the refrigerant returns to its liquid state, it picks up more heat from the indoor air and the cycle begins again. Energy efficiency ratings for these types of air conditioners are measured by Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system.
What are the Different Types of Air Conditioners?
Whether you need to cool an entire home or just a single room, there are different air conditioning systems that can provide the cooling you require. The type you choose will depend on various factors, including the size of your space and your budget. You also need to take into account the energy efficiency of your AC system, as this can help you lower your utility bills over time.
Ductless mini-split systems are a great option if you’re looking for a cooling solution that doesn’t require ductwork. They consist of an outdoor unit that comprises a compressor and one or more indoor units that feature air blowers. These units are connected via tubing, and refrigerant circulates between them. These air conditioners are easy to install and highly efficient in terms of energy consumption.
Another popular type of home air conditioning is a window or portable air conditioner. These free-standing units are easy to move from room to room and can fit into a standard window. Window and portable ACs need access to a power outlet and a window that can be opened for ventilation. These units may have a water reservoir to capture condensation, which needs to be emptied from time to time.
Many modern air conditioners have smart features that allow them to be controlled from a mobile device. This is especially useful if you’re away from your home during the day and want to make sure your house remains cool.
How Do Air Conditioners Work?
Along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, air conditioning is one of life’s great mysteries. But if you think about it, this modern miracle of science is really quite simple. Air conditioners remove heat from the inside of your home or office and release it outside. It’s a cycle that happens over and over again, continuously cooling and dehumidifying your space.
To do this, the machine takes in colder air from outside and blows it over a series of cold pipes (the evaporator coil). As the air passes over these pipes, it’s cooled down because cold air has less moisture in it than warm air. The cool air then circulates throughout your home or office, maintaining your desired temperature.
As the cooled air moves out of your room, it passes through the condenser coils in the outdoor unit. These coils are covered in a special liquid, usually R-22 or R-410A, which is actually a mixture of two chemicals: hydrofluorocarbons. The condenser coils absorb the heat from your Air conditioner manufacturer air and convert it back into a gas. The hot refrigerant then enters the compressor, which presses it to a higher temperature and pressure.
Then, the refrigerant goes into the evaporator coils once again. As the hot air from your room flows over the evaporator coils, the refrigerant absorbs the heat and turns back into a cold liquid. This is the same process that makes ice in an evaporative cooler.
How Do Air Conditioners Cool?
As the temperature drops your air conditioner passes a mixture of water and refrigerant over its cooling coils. That coolant absorbs heat from the warm air passing over the coils. The cooled air is then blown through the house by fans that are fed by the cooling coils, removing the heat and making you feel much better.
The entire process is driven by that special liquid known as refrigerant, which has the cool superpower of changing rapidly from a liquid to a gas and back again. You’ve probably seen this in action yourself if you’ve ever boiled water on the stove. This change from liquid to vapor is the heart of the air conditioning cycle.
It’s this change in state, and the changes in temperature, pressure and the location of where the liquid/vapor goes that makes your air conditioner work. The three mechanical components that drive the air conditioning cycle are the evaporator coil, compressor and condenser coil. The evaporator coil is located inside your home, the compressor sits outside making all those noises and the condenser coil is where the heat is dumped into the atmosphere.
All this happens because the evaporator coil is cooler than the warm air passing over it, which draws that heat into the cooling refrigerant. This is exactly the same thing as when you boil water on your stove, only it’s a lot faster.