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How Does Air Conditioning Work?

Nov 13, 2007
Air conditioning can seem like a complicated concept if you don't know how it works. Not many people do understand how the process works and therefore don't know what to look for when buying a unit. However, it can actually be very simple and straightforward once you have a basic understanding of the topic.

Air conditioning units work in a similar way to refrigerators in the sense that instead of cooling just a small space, they can cool an entire room, house or even building. This is done with a chemical that is used to transfer heat from the air inside to the outside air. The reason why an air conditioning unit is able to do this is because the chemical that is used can easily convert from a gas to a liquid and back again.

There are three main parts to an air conditioning unit and these are the compressor, the condenser and the evaporator. The fluid that is in the unit arrives at the compressor as a cool, low - pressure gas which is then squeezed by the compressor. This is done to pack the molecules in the fluid closer together because the closer they are together the faster they move and the higher the energy levels and temperature are.

The fluid leaves the compressor hot and with high pressure and enters the condenser. By the time it leaves the condenser in the air conditioning unit its temperature is much cooler and has changed from a gas to a liquid under the high pressure. The liquid then goes into the evaporator and by the time it comes back out its pressure has dropped and it begins to evaporate into a gas.

This is where the air conditioning really starts to work because as this process is happening, it extracts the heat from the air around it making it cooler. In order to ensure that there is an even distribution of cool air, there is a fan connected to the evaporator which circulates the air inside the building.

This process is then repeated again and again with the fluid entering the compressor. It can be repeated as many times as desired until the correct air conditioning temperature is reached in the room. The thermostat senses that the temperature has reached the right setting and it automatically turns of the air conditioner. If and when the room starts to warm up again, the thermostat turns the air conditioner back on until the room reaches the desired temperature.
About the Author
Kimpton Building Services has been providing essential building services to clients for over 40 years.
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