How Does an Air Conditioner Work? 7 Most Common Questions You Might Not Know

The AC unit is part of a central heating and cooling system that absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to the outside of a building. Basically, the air conditioner in a home or office uses a process that draws out warm air and replaces it with cool air through the sheet metal ductwork of the AC system. Let’s take a look at how a split air conditioner works as most people widely use it.

How Split Air Conditioning Systems works

In a split air conditioning system, the compressor in the unit condenses the refrigerant and circulates it through the outdoor unit, where it is transformed from a gas to a form of liquid. This liquid is then forced back through the indoor evaporator coil into the cooling compartment.

The indoor blower motor causes the fan to turn, blowing the warm air across the evaporator fins—the metal fins of the evaporator exchange thermal energy with the surrounding air.

During this process, the liquid is transformed into a vapour that removes heat from the surrounding air. The resulting cooled air is then blown into the home through the ducts and vents of the air conditioner.

At this point, the refrigerant vapour is turned back into a liquid by the condenser in the outdoor unit, removing any heat. When the fluid leaves, the evaporator is has cooled down into a low-pressure gas, and the condenser is ready to start the next cycle of cooling.

This process is continued repeatedly until the air in your home reaches the desired temperature sensed by the thermostat setting.

Related: Find out the detail of each aircon part here.

Do Air Conditioners Take in Air from Outside?

Split air conditioner systems don’t take in air from the outside, although they have heat pumps located outside the house. The main purpose of cooling air is not achieved by moving air from outside to the inside, but by cooing down the warm air from inside the home to the outside unit where it is cooled and returned to the inside unit and circulated through the vents.

Can Air Conditioners Filter Out Smoke?

Air conditioners can purify the air by filtering out dust and pollen through special filters but are not designed to filter out smoke. However, the air may be better than it would be without the use of an air conditioner.

Does an AC Reduce Oxygen?

Air conditioners are designed to produce and circulate cooled internal air from room to room. The air conditioner unit does produce additional oxygen. However, it can be attached to a special duct that provides fresh air from outside that will introduce additional oxygen into a building.

Can an Air Conditioner Increase Oxygen?

As mentioned above, air conditioners do not produce additional oxygen. The oxygen concentration in the air is normally 21%. Due to air pollution, however, this may reduce the percentage to about 17%. An air conditioner will cool the air in a home without raising the level of oxygen present.

What Happens When We Smoke with an Air Conditioner in the Home?

Air conditioners are equipped with filters designed to improve air quality inside a home. However, the amount of pollution released by cigarette smoke is so substantial that an AC filter will quickly become coated with tobacco residue.

Smokers will have to change the filters in the AC unit at least once a month to ensure indoor air quality is maintained. Some air conditioners are equipped with advanced technology filters such as ionizers, cold plasma, and active carbon, which causes less of a problem.

What is a Closed-Loop Air Conditioner?

Closed-loop systems are designed to transfer heat through water circulation for the purposes of air conditioning, process applications, or heating.  The heated air in the enclosure is drawn into the unit by a powerful blower motor.

As the air passes through the evaporator coil, heat and moisture will be removed, and the air will be forced back into the enclosure, thereby maintaining the NEMA integrity inside the enclosure. Closed-loop systems are designed not to lose water which eliminates the problem of leaking air conditioners.

How Many Hours Should an AC Run per Day?

An air conditioner that has been properly sized for the size of the building can run non-stop for 24-hours a day, even during the hottest weather. Normally an AC unit will run during periods when a peak load is occurring, which could be about 8 hours, but will seldom run for 24 hours.

However, you can set your air conditioner to run for 24-hours every day if you wish. Most air conditioners like the Samsung brand will automatically cycle on and off according to the thermostat setting. When the set temperature is reached, the unit will switch off automatically and turn on again as soon as the temperature rises by a few degrees.

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