How Air Conditioning Works
It is almost the season now for Sacramento air conditioning to be turned on and used heavily, and you may have wondered, “How does this air conditioning thing really work?” Air conditioning is a concept that started as early as 1758 with Benjamin Franklin conducting experiments with a chemistry professor at Cambridge. They were trying to find a way to cool an object rapidly and came up with a combination of elements that when used with evaporation, cooled an object past the freezing point. The conclusion Franklin offered at the end of these experiments was that someday a man could be frozen to death on a warm summer day.
Thank goodness our AC units are not instruments of death! But we also have to thank our lucky stars that AC units work effectively to make those hot summer days and nights tolerable. Air conditioning works on a scientific principle to reduce air temperature in the home. AirSmiths Heating and Air Company in Sacramento thought to share the information on how ACs work would help to enlighten the public and have them more appreciative of well-operating systems.
The Important Parts within Your Air Conditioner
There are many parts in your air conditioner which work together to cool the air. Some of these include:
* The compressor
* The condenser
* Expansion valve
* The evaporator
* The filter
* Drain pans
* The thermostat
Liquid refrigerants are used which are contained in the coils and reduce the temperature of the air as it moves through the coil.
Refrigeration Makes You Comfortable in Summer
The refrigerant is the magic ingredient which chills the air. You only have to remember a physical law that you may have learned in science class but forgot soon after: when a liquid converts to gas it gets hotter by absorbing heat. This is the basic law that refrigerant operates on.
So the actual workings of your air conditioner are this:
1. First the refrigerant enters the compressor as a gaseous vapor and is squeezed so it becomes hotter.
2. It then leaves the compressor as a high-pressure and hot gas.
3. This gas/vapor moves into the condenser next and is cooled by fans pushing air over it.
4. The vapor then changes into a hot liquid and moves into the expansion valve.
5. Here is where the work really happens. A tiny opening in the valve allows the refrigerant to pass through and it comes out the other side as a cool mist. It has cooled off as it expanded at the other side of the expansion valve.
6. This cooler mist moves to the evaporator coil. Hot air is sucked in from outside and goes down ducts into the evaporator; the heat is removed from the air and is cooled and blown through the house.
7. In the evaporator, the refrigerant is heated up in the process and changes to a cold liquid, evaporates and moves back into the compressor to start the cycle all over again.
This process goes on as long as the thermostat is telling the unit to continue until your home is at the temperature desired. When the right temperature is reached the thermostat turns off the AC unit, and as the air warms up, the thermostat turns the AC back on.
Variations on Conventional AC Units
Central air conditioners have a special valve which lets the unit switch from air conditioning to heating. These units have heat pumps and these heat pumps just turn around the function of an AC to make heat when the season changes. Because the compressor and condenser are usually outdoors, they are contained in all-weather housing.
Very simple really, and all our thanks must go back to our hero Benjamin Franklin for all his hard work.