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How Does an Air Conditioner Works?

Brief History

We deeply appreciate the man who pioneered this cool stuff in the early decades of the 20th century, Willis Carrier. This device that has revolutionized the working environments started when Carrier patented the air conditioner in 1902.

With expertise in the field of mechanical engineering, he designed a mechanical humidity controller in certain business establishments wherein air passed through a filter, then over coils containing the coolants.

As the number of commercial clients grew, he decided to also shift over to the residential needs and founded his very own company, Carrier Engineering Corporation in 1915. The industry flourished soon after the Second World War which placed home air conditioners & central air installation on top of the list for many American homeowners.


From Pebbles Kids Learning channel

How Does an AC Works?

Air conditioning or often referred to as A/C or AC is the process of varying the air through the removal of heat and humidity to achieve a more comfortable interior living environment. Through air having a lower temperature, the conditioned air is then distributed to several areas within an enclosed area or structure.

The parts of an air conditioning unit and refrigerators actually work the same way. While refrigerators cool just a small insulated space, an air conditioner cools a bigger scale such as a room, a whole house or an entire business establishment. ACs use chemicals that convert from a gas to liquid and back again. The chemical is also used to transfer heat from the air inside a given home to the outside air.

There are mainly three interacting parts of a central air conditioning system namely the compressor, a condenser and an evaporator. Both the compressor and the condenser are usually situated on the outside air portion of the device whereas the evaporator is located on the inside of the house and at times part of the furnace.

The AC fluid goes into the compressor as a cool, low pressured gas. The compressor squeezes the fluid which packs the molecules of the fluid closer together. Making the molecules closer and more intact creates a higher energy and temperature.

The working fluid becoming hot and high pressured gas leaves the compressor and goes to the condenser. The metal fins at the outside part of the AC situated outdoors appear to be like a radiator in the car and assist in controlling and dissipating the heat quickly. As the fluid leaves the condenser, it is now converted into a cooler and has now changed from gas to liquid under extreme high pressure. The fluid now goes to the evaporator along a tiny and narrow hole. The liquid pressure drops as it evaporates into gas.

As the liquid converts to gas and evaporates, it then extracts heat from the air around it. The heat present in the air is needed to separate the molecules of the fluid from a liquid state to gas. The moment that the fluid leaves the evaporator, it is then cool converting it to a low pressure gas. It returns to the compressor to begin the cycle all over again. A specialized fan is connected to the evaporator that circulates the air inside the house to blow across the evaporator fins. The hot air in the room rises to the top most part of a room.

There is an outlet or vent where air is sucked into the air conditioner and goes down the conduits. The hot air is utilized to cool the gas in the evaporator. As the heat is removed from the air, the air is cooled. It is then blown into the house through other ducts usually at the floor level.

The cycle continues over and over until the area reaches the temperature you want the room cooled to through proper ac installation. A designated thermostat indicates that the temperature has reached the right setting and turns off the air conditioner. As the room warms up, the thermostat turns the air conditioner back on until the room reaches the temperature.

A central air conditioning system isn’t just about luxury or comfort, it is proven that one is more productive at work and is believed to have a healthier well-being when a conditioned air circulates.

Studies also say that there are fewer health-related deaths in the United States than in Europe due to the greater usage of air conditioners. Though some sees it as balancing between efficiency and cost since having to use an air conditioner will definitely have higher cost compared to one using an electric fan but would be less efficient as it only circulates or rearranging the hot air inside a given space.

AC units used to have a very harmful effect on the environment as well. Until the late 20th century, most manufacturers used coolant chemicals known as aschlorofluorocarbbons or CFCs which were also widely used in refrigerators.

The chemicals escape into the environment when old units are opened up and broken. The chemicals then go into the stratosphere damaging the Earth’s ozone layer, which is the natural sunscreen that helps us be protected from the Sun’s harmful ultra-violet rays.

This paved way into using and manufacturing alternative coolants and banning the CFCs in the production of these units. Companies made use of halogenated chlorofluorocarbons or HCFCs.

Learn More Here: How Does an Air Conditioner Works?

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