Wednesday 30 May, 2018

How an Air Conditioner Fundamentally Works

Many people have enjoyed the benefits all their lives and never really stopped to think how the air conditioning system actually works. All they know is that they hit a few buttons and some cold air starts pouring out of the vent. But the process of cooling the air is actually very interesting and shows, why I believe, air conditioning to be one of the most valuable inventions of the 20th century.

For starters, the reason it is called an “air conditioner” and not an “air cooler” is because it is also dehumidifies the air. A cool room with high humidity works against the cooling process and can also be bad for the occupants. They can develop respiration problems in that environment and mold can grow on surfaces as well.

Basically, the system works by extracting heat from the room and then carrying the heat outside. It also dehumidifies the room and carries the water outside or down a drain. The system uses air from inside the cooling area so it doesn’t have have to waste as much energy. By recycling the already treated air, it saves energy and money.

A Central Air Conditioner Consists of Six Mechanical Components:

  • Chemical Refrigerant
  • Compressor
  • Condenser Coil
  • Blower
  • Evaporator Coil
  • Fan


The compressor condenses the chemical refrigerant. The refrigerant is now cooled. It is run through the evaporator coil and the blower runs air over the cold coils. The cold air from the evaporator coil is pushed into the vents and into the rooms. The refrigerant decompresses as it moves down the line and heats back up (pulling heat from the air with it). Outside of the house, the hot refrigerant runs through the condenser coil. The fan pulls air over the coil and pushes some of the heat into the atmosphere. The compressor now takes that same coolant and re-compresses it to start the cycle over again.

The air conditioning cycle is a closed loop. That is why any leak or damage to the system can cause it to malfunction or at the very least work harder to maintain cooler temperature.

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