Air Conditioner Basics: The Parts and How It Works

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basics of air conditioner

At its basic level, an air conditioner works the same way in a house, office building, or a car. The premise of an air conditioner is that it takes hot air and extracts it from a room and replaces it with cool air. This is done until the temperature of the room reaches the desired level. An air conditioner does this with several core components – an evaporator, compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and refrigerant.

Evaporator

An air conditioner’s most important role is to cool down air that enters the system. This happens at the evaporator, which is responsible for heat exchange. The evaporator has a coil which contains the fluid that cools down the air, also known as the refrigerant. The air passes the coils and the refrigerant absorbs the heat, turning from a liquid to a gas in the process.

Compressor

The compressor is where the refrigerant that has been turned into a gas is compressed. This generally happens outside of the house in an outdoor unit.

Condenser

The condenser is what cools the refrigerant back down into a liquid using ambient air. The evaporated refrigerant, now in gas form, makes its way through the system and cools down at the condenser. This is then funneled back into the evaporator, ready to start cooling again. All of these parts work together to help the air conditioner work correctly. If any of them stop working, then they will need to be replaced from a supplier like Aclube.

How Air Conditioning Works

Rather than producing chilled air with a machine as some people think how air conditioning works, it’s actually simpler than this. All air conditioning systems do is to suck out hot air from a room, cool it using heat exchange principles, and then release this cooled air back into the same space, which lowers the overall temperature. The first thing you’ll do with an air conditioner is to set the temperature you’d like with the thermostat. This will take the temperature of the room, and then judge if it needs to be cooled or not.

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If the system sees that the temperature of the room needs to be lowered, it will begin extracting air from the room through grilles. The warm air flows through the ducts in the building into the main indoor unit. The air flows through the main coil, which contains the refrigerant that absorbs the heat from the air. As the refrigerant liquid heats up, it becomes a gas. This hot gas is moved to the compressor, which is found outside, and the gas is compressed and moved to the condenser. As the hot refrigerant reaches the condenser, the heat dissipates, and the gas becomes a liquid again and is transported back to the evaporator. This basic flow happens over and over and allows for air to be continually cooled with the same refrigerant, which transports the heat to the condenser, and the heat is blown outside.

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