Air conditioner is such a wonderful invention. It keeps you comfortable inside a confined space such as your office or your home. There have been so many improvements in the original design that most people expect an AC to just work. In fact, air conditioners were not that common not so long ago. It was a luxury that was reserved for the rich but today, you can find an AC in almost every home and office. If you have ever wondered how an air conditioner works and the major components in an air-conditioning unit, here is everything you need to know about an AC.
One of the most important components in your air conditioner is the refrigerant. It is that special chemical that is responsible for the actual cooling. It is filled inside the refrigerant lines in a closed-loop system. It is the chemical that is responsible for carrying the heat from inside a room to the outside. The refrigerant is filled inside special tubes and it is chosen as it can quickly change from liquid to vapour at the desired temperature during the refrigeration cycle.
If you take a close look at your air conditioning unit, you will find that it has copper coils and cooling tubes that connect the inside unit to the outside one. The refrigerant inside these coils is responsible for absorbing the heat from the indoor air and once it absorbs the heat, it changes state and then it travels to the outdoor unit where this heat is exchanged and pushed outside.
Once the heat has been dispersed through the outdoor unit, it changes its state again and is then pushed back indoors. In the indoor unit, the refrigerant gets cold and the fan in the indoor unit blows hot air over the cold coils which causes the refrigerant to absorb the heat. This is how the refrigeration cycle works. The cycle is repeated innumerable times in order to maintain cooler temperature inside an enclosed space.
Another important component in your air conditioning unit is the compressor. It is responsible for pressurizing the refrigerant in the AC. This pressurization raises the temperature of the refrigerant. If you know a bit about science, you would know that increasing pressure also increases the temperature. In short, when the refrigerant is compressed, it also heats up. The job of the compressor is to squeeze the refrigerant gas tightly. This raises the temperature of the refrigerant to a level which is higher than the temperature outdoors which means the heat flows from the AC unit to the outdoors as heat flows from higher temperature to lower temperatures.
If you know anything about air-conditioning systems, you must be aware of the role of condenser coils in the air-conditioning unit. It is located in the outdoor unit and is responsible for receiving the high-pressure refrigerant from the compressor. It works in a manner opposite to the evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are responsible for containing the cold refrigerant whereas the condenser coils are responsible for containing the hot refrigerant.
Similar to evaporator coils, the condenser coils are responsible for heat transfer. The only difference is that they transfer heat to the outdoor air. Heat energy is released by the refrigerant through the help of condenser fan as it blows air over the coils. Once enough heat is exchanged, the refrigerant gets back into the liquid state and it then flows into the expansion valve which is responsible for de-pressurizing it. The de-pressurization also cools down the refrigerant.
When the refrigerant disperses heat, it cools down to a certain level but it is still hot enough to damage the evaporator coils. Therefore, the refrigerant needs to be cooled down further in order to make it safe for the evaporator coils and in order to cool down the refrigerant, an expansion valve is used. It is based on the same principle which states that decrease in pressure will also lead to decrease in temperature. The job of expansion valve is to bring down the refrigerant pressure which, in turn, cools it down. As the name suggests, an expansion valve expands the refrigerant which means it is responsible for changing the refrigerant state from liquid to gas.
Evaporator coils have been mentioned many times in the above paragraphs and this is the section, where we will define what evaporator coils actually are and why these are important to the functioning of an air conditioner. The evaporator coils are the component that is responsible for absorbing heat from warmer air inside your home. The expansion valve pushes the refrigerant in liquid and de-pressurized state into the copper tubes. Your home has warm air indoors and the indoor unit has a fan that blows this hot air over the cold coils. When hot air blows over the cold coils, it leads to exchange of heat energy and heat is absorbed by the refrigerant where it turns from liquid to gaseous state as it expands.
These are all the major components inside an air-conditioning unit. An air conditioner contains a lot of other components to ensure that all these components keep running but these are the major components of your air conditioning unit and if your air-conditioner isn’t working as it should, it is usually due to a fault in one of the above-mentioned components.
If you look closely, you will find that an air-conditioner is nothing but a system of components that absorbs the heat from the warmer air inside your home and pushes it out. All these components including the compressor, condenser coils, evaporator coils, expansion valve and various others just cycle the refrigerant through the refrigeration cycle in order to exchange the heat from the indoor air and to push it outdoors. This process is repeated multiple times in order to bring cool down the indoor temperature.
If you want to ensure that your air conditioner keeps running as efficiently as it is designed to run, you need to make sure it is serviced regularly. Always call a trained and experienced professional for servicing the air-conditioning unit. Experienced technicians have the necessary knowledge as well as tools to check all the major components and make sure nothing is wrong with these components. If they find anything wrong with any of the components, they will fix it immediately in order to avoid any emergency problems with the air-conditioning unit.