Air conditioners come in various sizes, cooling capacities and prices. One type that we see all the time is the window air conditioner. Window air conditioners are an easy and
economical way to cool a small area.
Most businesses and office buildings have condensing units on their roofs, and as you fly into any airport you notice that warehouses and malls may have 10 or 20 condensing units hidden on their roofs. And then if you go around back at many hospitals, universities and office complexes, you find large cooling towers that are connected to the air conditioning system.
Even though each of these machines has a pretty distinct look, they all work on the same principles.
How Air Conditioning Works:
Air conditioners use chemicals that easily convert from a gas to a liquid and back again. This chemical is used to transfer heat from the air inside of a home to the outside air. It uses the evaporation of a refrigerant, like Freon, to provide cooling. The mechanics of the Freon evaporation cycle are the same in a refrigerator as in an air conditioner. This is how the evaporation cycle in an air conditioner works:
- The compressor compresses cool Freon gas, causing it to become hot, high-pressure Freon gas.
- This hot gas runs through a set of coils so it can dissipate its heat, and it condenses into a liquid.
- The Freon liquid runs through an expansion valve, and in the process it evaporates to become cold, low-pressure Freon gas.
- This cold gas runs through a set of coils that allow the gas to absorb heat and cool down the air inside the building.
It then returns to the compressor to begin its trip all over again.
This continues over and over and over until the room reaches the temperature you want the room cooled to. The thermostat senses 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.