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How an Air Conditioner Works

On July 17th, 1902, Willis Carrier created the first modern air conditioning system. Carrier’s creation helped give rise to plentiful industries that continue to power our economy today. In the early years, air conditioning helped boost the manufacturing of everything from parched goods to wartime supplies. It led straight to summer movie blockbusters as people gathered to cooled theaters to escape the heat. Detailed control of temperature and moisture has even allowed the development of indoor shopping malls, transoceanic flights, and the computers and servers that power the internet. Today’s modern cooling systems still function on the same basic principles, providing securely laidback air to people inside.

How do air conditioners work?

Air conditioners come in an assortment of shapes and sizes, but they all activate on the same basic evidence. An air conditioner delivers cold air inside your home or surrounded space by actually removing heat and moisture from the indoor air. It precedes the cooled air to the indoor space, and handovers the unwanted heat and humidity outside. An average air conditioner or cooling system uses a dedicated chemical called refrigerant and has three main mechanical components: a compressor, a condenser coil, and an evaporator coil. These components work together to rapidly change the refrigerant from gas to liquid and back again.

How do air conditioners work

The compressor raises the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant gas and sends it to the condenser coil where it is rehabilitated to a liquid. Then the refrigerant acts back indoors and enters the evaporator coil. Here the liquid refrigerant evaporates and cools the indoor coil. A fan setback indoor air across the cold evaporator coil where the heat inside the home is fascinated into the refrigerant. The cooled air is then circulated throughout the home while the heated evaporated gas is sent back outside to the compressor. The heat is then unconfined into the outdoor air as the refrigerant revenues to a liquid state. This cycle continues until your home has touched the wanted temperature.

The Air Conditioning Process

Many homes in North America depend on split-system air conditioners, often mentioned as central air. Air conditioning systems contain several components and do more than just cool the air inside. They also can control moisture, air quality, and airflow within your home. So before we answer the question of how air conditioners work, it will be helpful to know what makes up a typical system.

What Is Central Air?

A typical air conditioning system, often mentioned as “central air” or “split-system air conditioning”, usually comprises the following:

  • a thermostat that pedals system operation
  • an outdoor unit that houses a fan, condenser coil, and compressor
  • an indoor unit (typically moreover a furnace or fan coil) that houses the evaporator coil and fan to socialize the cooled air
  • copper tubing that allows the refrigerant to flow between the indoor and outdoor units
  • a growth valve the regulates the amount of refrigerant going into the evaporator coil
  • the ductwork that allows air to circulate from the indoor unit out to the numerous living spaces and back to the indoor unit

In its most basic explanation, the air conditioning procedure includes two actions that occur concurrently, one inside the home and one outside the home.

1. Inside the home (sometimes stated as the “cold side” of the system), warm indoor air is cooled as it setbacks crossways a cold cooling coil full of refrigerant. Heat from indoor air is engrossed into the refrigerant as the refrigerant turns from liquid to gas. The cooled air is dispersed back to the house.

2. outside the home (sometimes referred to as the “hot side” of the system), the refrigerant gas is flattened before incoming a large coil in the outdoor unit. Heat is unconfined outside as the refrigerant turns back to a liquid and a large fan pulls outdoor air through the outdoor coil refusing the heat engrossed from the house.

The result is an incessant cycle of heat and humidity being removed from indoor air, cool air returning to the home, and heat and humidity departing the home.

Types of Air Conditioner

There are three primary types – split-system air conditioner, packaged air conditioner, and ductless air conditioner. Each has its particular uses, but they all fundamentally do the same thing – make it cool inside your home. The type of cooling system that works best for you depends on your geographical location, the size and physical limitations of your home, and the way you use it.

Split-System Air Conditioner

Split-system offers the most common answer to the question, ``what is central air?” These systems contain both an indoor unit and an outdoor unit. The indoor unit, typically a heater or a fan coil, comprises the evaporator coil and blower fan (air handler) that circulates air through the home. The outdoor unit holds the compressor and the condenser coil.

Split-system air conditioners provide variability of options, counting basic single-stage systems, quieter and well-organized two-stage systems, and the lowest, most energy-saving multi-stage systems. A split system air conditioner offers consistent, reliable temperature control to the entire home. And, because the system uses filters in the indoor air handler, it can clean your air while it cools it.

Packaged Air Conditioner

Packaged systems are all-in-one solutions that also answer the question “what is central air?” Packaged systems comprise the evaporator coil, blower fan, compressor, and condensing coil all in one unit. They work well when there isn't sufficient space in a loft or closet for the indoor unit of a split-system air conditioner. They are also a good choice in areas where rooftop installations are favored. Like split systems, packaged systems pull warm air from the home, through return air ducts, into its evaporator coil section. The air permits over the evaporator coil and the cooler air returned to the home through supply air ducts. And, as with a split system, the unwanted heat is unconfined to the outside through the condenser coil.

Packaged systems also offer a variability of options to deliver better energy competence. They are obtainable in two-stage systems and single-stage systems. Higher competence models comprise multi-speed blower fans. In the United States, packaged schemes are most common in the south and southwest areas of the country.

Ductless Air Conditioner

Ductless systems are not measured to be central air systems because they bring cooling to precise, targeted areas within the home. They necessitate less aggressive installation because, as their name proposes, they don't trust ductwork to allocate chilled air. Like split systems, ductless systems comprise an outdoor unit and at least one indoor unit, connected by copper refrigerant tubing. In a ductless system, each indoor unit is intended to deliver cool air only for the room in which it is installed. The indoor unit can be installed on a wall, in the maximum, or on the floor.

Some ductless systems can comprise multiple indoor units associated with one outdoor unit. Regardless of the number of indoor units, the operation is alike to a split system. The indoor unit covers an evaporator coil and blower fan to pull warm air from the room, across the cool evaporator coil, then return the cooler air into the room. Refrigerant runs through the copper tubing to the outdoor unit where the compressor and condenser coil are located. The heat from inside is released through the outdoor condenser coil. The refrigerant returns to the indoor unit, and the cycle continues.

Regardless of which type of system works for your home or property, knowing the answer to “how do air conditioners work?” can help you choose a system that makes the most sense. And, it will allow you to better understand the choices your HVAC contractor is presenting.

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