An air conditioner functions to eliminate heat from an area. An air conditioning system involves the processes of air conditioning, ventilation and heating--HVAC for short. Its primary purpose is to reduce humidity and provide cooling to appliances, structures and automobiles. There are numerous types of air conditioners, some of which include packaged and unitary terminal PTAC systems, evaporative coolers, absorptive chillers, single and dual hosed units and split units. But you will find that the main components of all air conditioning units are similar.
Air conditioning units involve the usage of a chemical called a refrigerant, which is typically Freon. A refrigerant can convert from gas to liquid and then back to its original gaseous state in no time. It is this state of conversion that forms the foundation of the cooling mechanism of an air conditioner. The purpose of a refrigerant is to transfer heat from the air inside to the air outside, thereby cooling the inside space. Air conditioning begins with the refrigerant entering the compressor. The refrigerant is a cool gas at this stage. The compressor applies pressure on it, converting the refrigerant into a hot gas. The air conditioning compressor passes the gas passes through a succession of coils located within the outer portion of the unit. Most air conditioning units use a centrifugal compressor, that is a fan with numerous blades rotating at high speeds. The spinning of the fan applies pressure on the refrigerant, pushing it outside the compressor and into the condenser.
The condenser used in an air conditioning unit is basically a pressurized coil. The refrigerant enters the condenser and is compressed within it. The pressure applied on the refrigerant allows it to heat up. The refrigerant, which is a hot liquid at this stage, continues flowing through the condenser coils. It cools down as it nears the end of the coil series by dissipating heat to the outside.
This liquid is then passed through an expansion valve, coming out slowly from the other side of the valve. It passes through another series of coils, evaporating as it does so. This evaporation gathers the warmer air from inside and dispels it to the outside of the room. Fans blow air over these coils, resulting in cool air being spread across the room. The refrigerant is gradually warmed up as it passed through the coils and is sent back to the compressor to begin the cooling process from start.
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