Understanding How an Air Conditioner Works: A Simple Explanation

Have you ever wondered how an air conditioner works? It's a common question, and the answer is surprisingly simple. An air conditioner is a device that cools the air in a room or building by removing heat and moisture from the air. It works by using a refrigerant to absorb heat from the indoor air and then transferring it to the outside air. Inside the house (sometimes referred to as the “cold side of the system”), warm indoor air cools as it passes through a cold cooling coil filled with refrigerant.

Heat from the indoor air is absorbed into the coolant as it transitions from liquid to gas. The cooled air is then distributed back to the house. The heat inside your home is absorbed and transferred to the outside through a cooling agent or “coolant”. The coolant is contained within coils that travel through a closed system.

The coils guide the coolant from inside the house to the outside and back inside. The central air conditioner works by moving the air in your home until it reaches the desired temperature. Central air systems draw warm air out of your home, work to cool it by releasing its heat to the outside, and then distribute the freshly cooled air through a duct system in your home. In this way, all rooms reach the ideal temperature.

An air conditioner collects warm air from a particular room, processes it in itself with the help of a refrigerant and a series of coils, and then releases cold air into the same room where the warm air was originally collected. The difference is that your refrigerator cools a small, isolated space, while an air conditioner keeps your home, office or commercial space at a comfortable temperature. This refrigerant chemical compound flows throughout the air conditioner, absorbing and releasing heat at different stages to cool your home. Many people mistakenly believe that an air conditioner generates cold air with machines installed in it, which can cool a room quickly. In reality, an air conditioner uses the refrigerant contained in its system to absorb excess heat from a room, which it then pumps through a piping system to an outdoor coil.

The compressor and condenser of the unit are usually located on the outside of the air conditioning system. When an air conditioner functions like a refrigerator, expanding and compressing a refrigerant chemical to transfer heat from inside of a building to outside, an air cooler sucks in warm air, passes it through or near water to cool it, and then blows it back into the room. Once heat and moisture are absorbed from the indoor air, it is filtered to detect dust, lint and debris. As in normal air conditioning, the refrigerant cycles between gas and liquid, high and low pressure, and high and low temperature. The cooling process starts when a fan blows warm air from inside the house into the air conditioner and the refrigerant absorbs that heat inside the evaporator coil. A fan is used to blow ambient air over this hot coil containing the coolant, transferring heat from the coolant to outside air. Air conditioners are part of a central heating and cooling system that draws thermal energy from outside of house and transfers it.

Central air conditioners have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit, and are one of most common types of air conditioners. You can also try other strategies such as opening windows all night but closing them tightly first thing in morning and during day to keep warm air out of your house.

Lucy Ryan
Lucy Ryan

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