How does an air conditioner work?

Many people nd themselves wondering at one point or other: how does an air conditioner work? How does it actually make the air cold? An air conditioning unit is basically a refrigerator that is placed partially inside and partially outside your house. Let’s go back to the basic principles of how a fridge works, which essentially comes down to changing the state of the refrigerant (coolant) between a gas and liquid.

  • It starts with the compressor which compresses the coolant (which is in a low- pressure gas state) to a high-pressure gas, where it heats up like all gases do when compressed.
  • This coolant is now actually hotter than the air outside the fridge and is pushed into the coils on the outside of the fridge. When it meets the cooler air temperature of the kitchen the heat is removed and it condenses and becomes a hot liquid.
  • The hot liquid passes through an expansion device, where its pressure is suddenly lowered and some of the liquid evaporates very quickly, creating a cooling effect.
  • The now cold low-pressure liquid is then fed into coils on the inside of the fridge, where it absorbs the heat from the air inside the fridge, turning it back into a low temperature gas, at low pressure.
  • At this point it enters the compressor again, ready for the next round.
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How is a fridge like an air conditioner?

You can see that in order to cool down the air inside a fridge, the path of the coolant must go both inside and outside the fridge. The same applies for an air conditioning unit. The air-conditioner must be set up so that the coolant can run through a system of pipes that are strategically placed partially inside and partially outside the house. Fans are used inside the house to help circulate the chilled air and outside the house to blow away the hot air. Imagine now that you take a fridge and build your house around it, so the front of the fridge is inside your home and the back half with all the coils on it is outside. If you now leave the door open, what you effectively have installed is an air conditioner. It absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside, cooling your house down in the process.

Air conditioning systems can be further developed by pushing the chilled through ducts or pipes that lead to various parts of the house, thereby directing the cold air to where it is most needed. Booking in a regular air conditioning service means you can be con dent that the pipes and ducts are clean and the coolant is able to ow freely throughout the whole system.

Is it worth buying a more expensive air conditioner?

There are several reasons you may choose to pay a bit more for an air conditioning unit and in most cases, this is money well spent. The best air conditioners on the market are generally more energy efficient, meaning that they require less energy to maintain the desired temperature than a cheap unit would. They make use of the latest technology and have quieter operations, whereas with the cheaper brands you often get a noisier air flow. Some of the most popular brands in Australia are Daikin, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Panasonic air conditioners. People don't really notice how noisy their system is until they go for a better brand. Then they realise what they had been putting up with. In general, the more you are willing to pay for an air conditioner, the more satisfied you will be with the results. It is also worth taking the time to find the right air conditioning installer, so you can be confident that your new investment is in good hands and will be installed correctly. 

How does an air conditioner work?

Many people nd themselves wondering at one point or other: how does an air conditioner work? How does it actually make the air cold? An air conditioning unit is basically a refrigerator that is placed partially inside and partially outside your house. Let’s go back to the basic principles of how a fridge works, which essentially comes down to changing the state of the refrigerant (coolant) between a gas and liquid.

  • It starts with the compressor which compresses the coolant (which is in a low- pressure gas state) to a high-pressure gas, where it heats up like all gases do when compressed.
  • This coolant is now actually hotter than the air outside the fridge and is pushed into the coils on the outside of the fridge. When it meets the cooler air temperature of the kitchen the heat is removed and it condenses and becomes a hot liquid.
  • The hot liquid passes through an expansion device, where its pressure is suddenly lowered and some of the liquid evaporates very quickly, creating a cooling effect.
  • The now cold low-pressure liquid is then fed into coils on the inside of the fridge, where it absorbs the heat from the air inside the fridge, turning it back into a low temperature gas, at low pressure.
  • At this point it enters the compressor again, ready for the next round.
Image

How is a fridge like an air conditioner?

You can see that in order to cool down the air inside a fridge, the path of the coolant must go both inside and outside the fridge. The same applies for an air conditioning unit. The air-conditioner must be set up so that the coolant can run through a system of pipes that are strategically placed partially inside and partially outside the house. Fans are used inside the house to help circulate the chilled air and outside the house to blow away the hot air. Imagine now that you take a fridge and build your house around it, so the front of the fridge is inside your home and the back half with all the coils on it is outside. If you now leave the door open, what you effectively have installed is an air conditioner. It absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside, cooling your house down in the process.

Air conditioning systems can be further developed by pushing the chilled through ducts or pipes that lead to various parts of the house, thereby directing the cold air to where it is most needed. Booking in a regular air conditioning service means you can be con dent that the pipes and ducts are clean and the coolant is able to ow freely throughout the whole system.

Is it worth buying a more expensive air conditioner?

There are several reasons you may choose to pay a bit more for an air conditioning unit and in most cases, this is money well spent. The best air conditioners on the market are generally more energy efficient, meaning that they require less energy to maintain the desired temperature than a cheap unit would. They make use of the latest technology and have quieter operations, whereas with the cheaper brands you often get a noisier air flow. Some of the most popular brands in Australia are Daikin, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu and Panasonic air conditioners. People don't really notice how noisy their system is until they go for a better brand. Then they realise what they had been putting up with. In general, the more you are willing to pay for an air conditioner, the more satisfied you will be with the results. It is also worth taking the time to find the right air conditioning installer, so you can be confident that your new investment is in good hands and will be installed correctly.