Air conditioners work on the concept of phase conversion to cool air. They exploit a law of physics that when a liquid converts into gas, it absorbs heat. To facilitate phase conversion, air conditioners force special compounds into a cycle of evaporation and condensation in a closed system of coils.
The chemical compounds are refrigerants that are able to change at very low temperatures. Air conditioners also have fans that move warm interior air over the cold refrigerant coils. When hot air flows over the cold evaporator coils, heat is absorbed by the refrigerant as it changes from liquid to gaseous state.
For the air conditioner to keep cooling efficiently, the refrigerant has to be converted back to liquid again. This is made possible by the use of a compressor that puts the gas under high pressure. The process creates unwanted heat which is evacuated from the system using a second set of coils referred to as condenser coils and a second fan.
As the gas cools, it reverts back to liquid state and the process starts all over again. This cycle creates a series of phase conversion of refrigerant liquid that leads to absorption of heat and then compression and phase transition of gas back to liquid.
In addition to cooling indoor air, air conditioners also regulate the air temperature via a thermostat. Moreover, they are fitted with onboard filters that remove air borne particles from circulating air. They also function as dehumidifiers. By reducing the temperature of a volume of humid air, a portion of moisture in the air is reduced. This explains why air conditioners discharge water when operated on humid days.
In between the two sets of condenser and evaporator coils is the expansion valve. Its role is to determine how much compressed liquid refrigerant moves into the evaporator. There are some additional timers, valves and additional sensors to ensure things run smoothly but the aforementioned parts are the main components of an air conditioner.
Now that you have some air conditioning basics at your fingertips, you understand how an air conditioner works. You can always call us for all your air conditioning and heating system needs.