Climate Works Blog
How Air Conditioners Work
How air conditioners work is by removing the heat from the space they service. An air conditioner is simply a big refrigerator that uses the process of refrigeration to provide cooling for a building.
Types of Air Conditioners
Types of air conditioner systems include window units, Central Air Conditioners, package unit air conditioners, packaged terminal air conditioners like the air conditioners used in hotels, and Ductless Air Conditioners.
Many of these also work as Heat Pumps. Portable Air Conditioners are also available.
Air conditioners use refrigerant that is pumped through coils where the refrigerant can either absorb heat or get rid of heat. For the process of to work there needs to be some primary air conditioning components.
Types of Compressors
Different types of compressors used in air conditioning include scroll compressors, reciprocating compressors, rotary compressors, screw compressors, and centrifugal compressors. They are used in various applications but these days, residential air conditioners typically use scroll compressors.
The air conditioner compressor is like a pump. It pumps cool refrigerant vapor from the air conditioner evaporator and compresses the vapor. When the vapor is compressed its pressure and temperature are raised. This high temperature vapor is pumped to the air conditioner condenser coils.
The air conditioner condenser coils receive the hot vapor from the compressor and immediately the air conditioner compressor begins to condense the refrigerant into a liquid by removing the heat absorbed when the refrigerant was running through the air conditioner evaporator coils.
In order to maintain efficiency, the refrigerant flow must be metered. The most widely used metering devices today are thermostatic expansion valves (TXV). The refrigerant leaves the air conditioner condenser as a liquid and is pumped to the air conditioner metering device.
The metering device meters the refrigerant only allowing just the right quantity to get past it. With a TXV, the quantity of refrigerant is based on the actual work required (how hot it is). Previously, capillaries were used according to the size or capacity of the air conditioning system, not the actual cooling required. No TXV means a dramatic reduction in efficiency.
The evaporator coils in an air conditioner system is responsible for absorbing heat. As air passes over the evaporator coils a heat exchange process takes place between the air and the refrigerant.
The refrigerant absorbs the heat. The air conditioner evaporator conditions the air in two ways when it is typically operating below the dew point. It causes sensible cooling and it causes latent heat removal.
The latent heat removal is the process of drawing moisture out of the air and the sensible cooling is dropping the temperature of the air. Both types of heat removal make you more comfortable in the summer time.
All the components are necessary to make any air conditioner system work and it is critical that they be engineered and matched as a system.
To learn more about Air Conditioning solutions for your home, Contact Climate Works Today!