Research done in 2016 indicates that the number of air conditioning units in the whole world were totaling 1.6 billion. The highest number was in the USA, where 90% of all the households were known to be having an AC unit.
Air conditioning systems help in maintaining the temperature of your home or business, especially during the hot summer months. But how does it work?
Primarily, it works in the same way a refrigerator does. The science behind it lies in the transfer of heat. When the air conditioner gets rid of the temperature in your house, it leaves behind a cold air that cools the room.
To get a deeper understanding of how AC works, you need to learn more about its major components.
Table of Contents
Component of an AC System
An AC system has two vital parts that work together to help control the temperature in your home. These two parts are the outdoor unit and the indoor unit.
The outdoor unit comprises of a condenser coil, a compressor, and a fan. The indoor unit, on the other hand, is made up of a coil box that contains an evaporator and an expansion valve.
An evaporator is a long and coiled metal tube where a liquid refrigerant runs through and absorbs heat evaporating to the air. Once it absorbs all the heat from your home or office, it leaves behind a cold breeze.
Some common AC refrigerants that are in use include hydrofluorocarbons such as Freon and R-410A.
2. The Compressor
Just as the name dictates, this is where the pumping of the refrigerant takes place. It compresses the low-pressure gaseous refrigerant into a hot gas with the intense pressure that flows to the condenser.
3. The Condenser
In the condenser, the hot gaseous refrigerant converts back to a liquid state and all the heat collected is released outside the system. Thus, you can find the compressor on the outer unit of the AC.
4. An Expansion Valve
The expansion valve keeps track of the amount of refrigerant that moves towards the evaporator. The expansion valve is set to be in between the evaporator coils and the condenser coils.
Once the whole process ends, the heat in your house disperses completely, and a more relaxed air is left behind. The refrigerant then flows back to the beginning, and the whole process repeats.
How AC Works: The Importance of Airflow
The essential parts of an AC unit are a compressor and an evaporator as they are responsible for the absorption and the release of heat. However, to be effective, they need the help of indoor and outdoor fans.
The indoor fans blow air over the evaporator coils, into the ducts and eventually into your home or office. The outdoor fans blow their air on the condenser to help move the released heat faster.
Without proper airflow, an AC unit does not function efficiently.
How an AC Unit Works: The Process
Once you switch on your AC and set the temperature you desire for your room, the AC unit will detect the temperature imbalance in the house.
The AC unit then sucks the warm air in the room from the bottom of the indoor unit where it flows to some of the pipes holding the refrigerant. Since the refrigerant liquid is hot, the air absorbs the heat from the evaporator coils.
It also gets rid of any moisture in the air making the room even more breathable.
The refrigerant gas then moves to the compressor, which is on the outer part of the AC unit. The gas is compressed, raising its temperature and pressure.
It then moves to the condenser where the heat quickly dissipates and the gas converts back to liquid. The whole process repeats over and over again until the room attains the desired temperature.
When the thermostat in the unit detects the surrounding temperature to be what is desired, it shuts down the whole system. However, when the room heats up again, the thermostat begins the entire process again.
Maintenance of an AC Unit
Air conditioners are vulnerable to dirt and debris. They can build up in the air filter after a long time of use. You should, therefore, ensure that your AC unit receives maintenance periodically to keep it in good shape.
If you do not take care of the accumulation in the air filter, the air conditioner will start to lose its effectiveness. Therefore, you can reach to an AC repair company and request for maintenance once every year.
What to Look for in an AC Unit
When looking for a functional AC unit to purchase, there are several factors you need to consider. Be sure that the AC unit has an energy-saver switch.
It helps the AC unit save some electricity by shutting down the fans when the compressor turns off. You should also ensure that the AC unit has a warning light that goes on when you need to change the filter.
Even though we may be dependent on AC units, they were surprisingly not made to help people live comfortable during hot days.
The first air conditioners were made for use in manufacturing companies to solve particular problems. However, today, air conditioners play an essential part in our lives on how we live.
Why It Is Smart to Understand Why AC Works
Besides knowing how AC works, there is an essential underlying reason as to why you should deeply understand the process. Today, the market has many unscrupulous vendors who may sell to you an AC unit that is not functional.
By understanding how and AC unit works, you can avoid making the wrong buying the decisions. You will know when the unit is not functioning as required or when you need to call a technician to fix it.
Regardless, the air conditioning industry is here to stay. The market landscape is set to change as the years progress with estimates of a 45 percent increase in the number of households using an AC unit in 2050.
Contact us today to inquire more about AC systems and how they work.