One of the most popular inventions ever made is of the air conditioner. Who does not love to spend a sultry day in a cooler room? Air conditioning is nothing but the entire process of regulating the temperature and humidity in a closed space. The object of this mechanism is to improve the thermal conditions of the air to make it more comfortable.
The air conditioner you see today is a result of years of advances since the 19th century. In the year 1902 Wills Carrier invented the first modern electronic air conditioner. The entire cooling is effected through a refrigeration cycle on most occasions. Whether you are using any device to make the temperature warmer, cooler or to de-humidify, clean, ventilate or regulate the air in the room- all of it comes under the tag of air conditioning. Popularly known as HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning), this layout is pretty much what you see in the markets today.
Have you ever thought how this entire cooling thing works? You may either have the window, central, split or portable air conditioner. Each has five common components namely refrigerant, compressor, condenser, expansion valve, evaporator coil. Let us analyze the dynamics that run behind your air conditioner.
How Your Air Conditioner Works
In simple terms, your air conditioner eliminates the heat from your home. The heat in the air is extracted and then the cool air is blown inside your room. Sounds simple?
The cooling happens when air blows over cold pipes called evaporator coils. There is a liquid called the refrigerant inside the evaporator coils. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air and converts it into a gaseous state. Compare it with how water evaporates on your skin thereby giving a cooling effect.
With the help of the compressor, the refrigerant is then channelized into another coil. This coil is the condenser, where the pent up heat is released. Thus, converting it back into its original state.
Here is how these components function inside your air conditioner-
The Window Air Conditioner–
This has been around since the time you gained some knowledge about air conditioners! We install this one by drilling a hole in an exterior wall or by placing it in your window. That is where it derives its name from. This machine traces its history back to 1935 when engineers at Chrysler Motors first invented it.
This system is essentially a “unitary” air conditioning system. The air conditioning unit encloses the compressor, condenser, expansion valve or coil, evaporator and cooling coil in a single box. It emits heat out from one end and chilled air from another.
If you have a single enclosed room, this is the ideal air conditioner for you!
The Split Air Conditioner-
This is widely used today at homes, offices, restaurants and commercial premises. The system is divided into two terminal units. These two units are connected by refrigerant tubing that passes through the wall.
On the outside, is the condensing unit. This unit comprises of condenser fan, compressor and condenser. The one placed inside the room is an evaporative unit including the fan, evaporator coil and expansion valve.
You can comfortably use this to cool one or two rooms, or a larger room. They have a pleasant visual appeal and save you from drilling the large hole into your wall.
The Portable Air Conditioner–
This one is for all those times you wished you could carry your air conditioner with you. The portable air conditioner, as the name says, can be easily ported from one place to another. A single unit system emits the exhaust heat via a hose vent through an exterior wall.
The refrigeration unit consists of the compressor, condenser (which can be air-cooled or water-cooled), expansion valve and evaporator enclosed in a single box. It is ideal to cool a large room or two smaller rooms in your home or office.
If you are dissatisfied about the emission of heat through the other end of the machine, then there is an alternative arrangement as well. In the regular arrangement, all components as mentioned above are clubbed into a single box. The chilled air is emitted through a high capacity blower and transmits through channels through the room.
Alternatively, the compressor and condenser are clubbed in one shell. The compressed gas is then channelized through individual units that include an expansion valve and cooling coil placed at various locations in the premises. When you have a system like this one, you are literally having your air conditioner on wheels!
The Central Air Conditioning–
This is the finest that has come up until this age. Central air conditioning systems are comfortable, smooth in performance and work silently. If installed with perfect measures it will perform excellently to regulate temperature, dehumidify the air and clean it as well.
Similar to the ductless/ split air conditioners, the central AC also comprises of two terminal units namely the condensing unit and the evaporative unit.
The outdoor unit is the condensing unit, which has the compressor, condensing coils and condensing fan in a single box. This unit is connected to the indoor unit that is the evaporative unit. The evaporative unit is installed inside your furnace to utilize the same conduits that you use for your heating system. This consists of the evaporator coil and expansion valve. The refrigerant unit runs through to connect these two units.
The advantage of this system is its magnanimous compressor that can produce tons of air conditioning. It is best for large premises be it hospitals, hotels, offices, gymnasiums etc. In such a scenario, it turns out to be more efficient than individual units being installed at home.
Now you know that the air conditioner is not just a two-piece unit. There is an entirely scientific process that efficiently performs to give you the comfort and luxury you enjoy. This should make you more aware so you are able to care better for your machines. In case of replacement and repairs always avail services of qualified HVAC professionals