How Does an Air Conditioner Work?
An air conditioner is a standard appliance in interior comfort. The Energy Information Administration reports that 87% of homes have an AC unit and they account for almost 20% of yearly electricity consumption in the US. At Climate Control, we believe that knowledge is power – the more you know about the appliances you are using, the more effectively you can operate them.
The modern air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Willis Havilard Carrier. It was invented to solve the humidity problem at a printing plant in Brooklyn. The concept of using chilled water to cool down certain areas predates his invention by centuries, however it is Carrier who is credited with inventing a system of chilled coils to maintain a constant temperature.
The Four Main Components of an Air Conditioner
- Evaporator – receives the liquid refrigerant
- Condenser – facilitates the heat transfer
- Expansion valve – regulates the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator
- Compressor – pump that pressurizes the refrigerant
The refrigeration cycle inside your air conditioning is as follows. It starts as a liquid and then goes through phase conversion to gas. Through this conversion it absorbs heat. It is then compressed and pushed through another phase transition back to liquid. Refrigerant is a chemical that allows this phase conversion to occur at low temperatures and it is this conversion cycle that creates what we know as modern air conditioning. The appliance forces this conversion to occur over and over again within a closed coil system.
Fans inside the unit blow warm air over the evaporator. The refrigerant inside picks up the temperature of the air. As it absorbs the heat from the air it turns into a vapor. The refrigerant goes from being a cold liquid to a hot vapor. The unit blows the cool air out while the hot refrigerant vapor passes into the compressor and gets compressed to an even higher pressure and temp. This then flows over the condenser which turns it back to a liquid and the heat is radiated away. Basically, the heat from the air is absorbed by the refrigerant and carried through the AC system to be pushed out the other side, while the cooled air is pushed inside.
An air conditioner also works as a humidifier and dehumidifier. You may have a moisture collection pan on your unit. As the refrigerant absorbs heat it also absorbs the moisture from the air.
If you have any questions about the process or would like to schedule service or maintenance on your unit, call our office or request service online today.
Climate Control is proud to be located in Tigard Oregon and serve the greater Portland metro community and surrounding towns. We provide honest and reliable residential and commercial HVAC service and repair. If you are not sure if we service your town, please check out our service area page for more detail, or call our office today!
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We service and repair all makes and models. We service Tigard, Beaverton, the Greater Portland area and surrounding communities. If you need air conditioning or furnace service for residential or commercial buildings, please call us today or request service online. If you need home automation or service on water heaters or heat pumps or commercial maintenance, please call us today.