Have you ever wondered how air conditioning works? How does it keep you cool and comfortable on a hot summer day? Here is a bit of information about air conditioning, its components, and the types of units that are available.
What Is Air Conditioning?
Air conditioning is the process of removing heat and humidity from the indoor air and transferring it outside. It uses a chemical called refrigerant that changes from liquid to gas and back to liquid in a closed system of coils. This process of phase conversion absorbs heat from the air.
How Do the Main Components of an Air Conditioner Work?
The compressor is the heart of the system. It raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant gas and sends it to the condenser coil, which is located outside the building. The condenser coil is a series of metal fins that dissipate the heat from the refrigerant to the surrounding air. As the refrigerant cools down, it changes from gas to liquid.
The liquid refrigerant then travels back indoors through a thin copper tube called the expansion valve, which regulates the flow and reduces the pressure of the refrigerant. The expansion valve also causes the refrigerant to evaporate partially, making it even colder.
The evaporator coil is another series of metal fins that are located inside the building, usually near the air handler or furnace. The cold liquid refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil and absorbs heat from the indoor air that is blown over it by a fan. As the refrigerant heats up, it changes from liquid to gas again.
The warm gas refrigerant then returns to the compressor, where the cycle repeats until the desired indoor temperature is reached. The thermostat controls the operation of the compressor and the fan, turning them on and off as needed.
Types of Air Conditioners
Air conditioners come in different types and sizes, depending on the cooling capacity, energy efficiency, installation method, and design preferences. Some common types of air conditioners are:
Window units. These are small units that fit in a window opening and cool a single room.
Portable units. These are movable units that have wheels and a flexible hose that connects to a window or a vent.
Split systems. These are units that have two separate parts—an outdoor unit that contains the compressor and condenser coil, and an indoor unit that contains the evaporator coil and fan.
Central systems. These are units that have a large outdoor unit that contains the compressor and condenser coil, and a network of ducts that distribute cooled air throughout the building.
If you are having problems with your air conditioning unit, contact an HVAC service in your local area.