How Does an Air Conditioner Work? We have all been in air conditioning at some point in our lives.
It has made riding in a car or shopping in a market so much more tolerable than before. But, did you know that air conditioning was accidentally invented in 1902?
Yes, a man set up to figure out a way to reduce the humidity in a Lithographing and Publishing company. Now, of course, it has been refined but that young man was onto something big.
He needed to reduce the humidity as the paper would absorb it and it would be impossible to work with. This process would later be introduced into movie theaters and other public places that will improve the visitors’ experience.
While air conditioning is used in homes, businesses, and vehicles these days. It took a while to develop.
We have used this same or similar technology in an appliance that is found in everyone’s home today, the refrigerator. However, refrigeration would fully develop for homes until 1913.
The idea had started in the late 1700s. The modern-day air conditioner and refrigerator basically work on the same principle.
Basic information on “How does an air conditioner work?”
Basically an air conditioner is using physical law to attract the heat from the air. When a liquid turns to a gas, it absorbs heat.
So, inside the AC unit, there are chemicals that are converted to gas, absorb the heat, and turn to liquid again. This process goes over and over again in a closed set of coils.
There are evaporator coils where the hot air flows over to have the heat taken from the air. The condenser coils will then compress the liquid back into a gas form for the process to start all over again.
Refrigerants are constantly cooling the air while the compressor is constantly working on keeping the refrigerant in a gas form.
While the air conditioner’s main job is to cool the air, that’s not all that it does. There are some units that can also filter the air at the same time.
As well as units that run on thermostats. They are also dehumidifiers by nature. As the air cools it doesn’t hold as much water or moisture in the air.
This allows the air conditioner to remove some of the moisture from the air and it to be less humid. This is why quite often you find water and a drain near an AC unit.
Basic components of an AC unit
There are two very distinct sides to an AC unit. And, keep in mind, all AC units pretty much operate the same. The evaporator produces the cold air while the compressor heats up.
The evaporator will push the cold air back inside while the compressor has a set of fans to cool it on the outside. The compressor is usually a large pump that is forcing the refrigerant back to liquid.
The expansion valve is between the two coils and regulates the amount of refrigerant that is released.
Basically there are four main components to an air conditioner.
These main components are:
- Condenser-works to get the heat out
- Compressor-compresses the refrigerant into liquid form.
- Evaporator-Received the liquid refrigerant
- Expansion Valve-regulates the system
These are the main components. Of course, there are others. So, how does an air conditioner work? Well, it looks like we have covered quite a bit of this. Basically it isn’t a super complex device.
In fact, there are very few moving components. There are many small things that can go wrong with this simple system though. If your air conditioner system isn’t working, we recommend that you call on the professionals.
Working on air conditioner systems can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you are doing. The risk of electrical shock is huge and quite damaging to the human body.
Simple things to check when your AC isn’t working.
Some simple things you can do if your air conditioning isn’t working. Take some time to check to see if the outside unit is free and clear from debris. This can be quite damaging to an AC unit.
Leaves, plastic bags and other debris can build up on the exterior, which won’t allow the components to work as they should.
You could be low on coolant. This is a closed system. However, at night here in Las Vegas it can get really cool at night. Because of this, some components could expand and contract more than they should.
This will allow those gases inside to leak out. If this happens the air conditioner won’t work properly. This isn’t a fix that a homeowner should attempt, calling a professional to take a look and determine where the leak is.
It is important to the everyday operation of your air conditioner.
Various types of Air Conditioners.
Hopefully, we have answered your question on “How does your air conditioner work?” It really is a basic set up. Which is why it is so easy to work on them, no matter what the brand.
They may have different setups, depending on the system. For example, window units are set up a bit differently than central air units but the idea is pretty much the same.
Similar to refrigerators, they have some basic components and then you can get into more bells and whistles, depending on the unit. We work with both residential and commercial air conditioner repair, installation, replacement, tune-up and maintenance.
Some are controlled by a thermostat and have the hot portion of the unit setting outside. While most hotels, restaurants, and other commercial buildings will have their outside units mounted somewhere on the roof.
These units will have an all-weather cover on them that will protect them from the elements but allow for their operation. Commercial air conditioners are typically a bit more complex as they are working to cool various areas of the same building.
We hope that you have learned a bit about “How does your air conditioner work?” While speaking about “How does your air conditioner work?” we have tried to break it down and not get too technical with things.
However, we don’t expect our clients to fully understand “How does your air conditioner work?”
Knowing the basic components will help you to understand what might be wrong and allow you to follow us when we are speaking about what needs to be repaired.