How does an Air Conditioner Work

Air_conditionerAir conditioners work the same way refrigerators do. Instead of cooling a small insulated space on the inside of the refrigerator, the air conditioner cools an entire house, a room or perhaps an entire office space.

Air conditioners basically make use of chemicals that can easily be converted from gas form to a liquid form and vice versa. This specific chemical is utilized for the purpose of efficiently transferring heat from the air found inside a room or a house towards the air outside.

The Air Conditioner’s Three Major Parts

An air conditioner has 3 major parts. These parts include the compressor, the evaporator and the condenser. The compressor and the condenser are located on the part of the AC unit placed outside the house. The evaporator, on the other hand, is located on the AC part placed inside the house. This part is sometimes part of the furnace. The furnace is the part that heats the entire house.

The Process

1. Compressor. Basically, the process on how air conditioners work is a cycle. It starts with the working fluid arriving at the compressor. On this part, the working fluid arrives as a cool and low pressure gas. The compressor will squeeze the fluid. With this action, the molecules of the fluid are packed closely together. The closer the fluid molecules are together, the higher is its temperature and its energy goes.

2. Condenser. After this step, the working fluid will now leave the compressor. During this time, the fluid has become a hot and high pressurized gas. This will then flow into the AC unit’s condenser. The part of the unit that has metal fins is the condenser. The fins will act like the radiator of a car. This part helps the heat go away quickly.

3. Evaporator. As the fluid leaves the condenser of the unit, its temperature now is much cooler. During this part, it has changed from gas to liquid form under high pressure. The liquid will now go into the evaporator. The liquid passes through a tiny and narrow hole. On the other side, the pressure of the liquid will drop. When this happens, the liquid will evaporate into gas. As this liquid turns into gas and evaporates, this extracts heat from the surrounding air. The heat in the air is required to separate the molecules of the fluid from a liquid form to a gas form. The evaporator will also have some kind of metal fins. These metal fins will help in the exchanging of thermal energy on the surrounding air.

4. Back to Step 1. During the time the working fluid leaves the AC unit’s evaporator, this becomes a low pressure and cool gas. This returns to the compressor to start the process again.

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