Imagine you have been outside on a particularly hot summer day running errands all day. It is way too hot, and you have been sweating a lot. The only thing that keeps you going is that after finishing the work, you will relax inside your air-conditioned room. Finally, the time comes when you reach your place. The cold air touches your body and makes you feel better. Most of you must have experienced something like this. The cooling revolution swept human society off their feet, and since then, air conditioners have been a big part of our lives. Before air conditioners, there were fans and other methods to cool the air, but it was never as amazing as the modern air conditioners in terms of cooling capacity.
Air conditioners work by collecting hot air from a given space and then processing it to give out fresh air back to the same area. Wills Carrier, who was a young electrical engineer, invented it in 1902. Because of the way air conditioners work, they have almost become a necessity in urban areas. The process that air conditioners use for reducing the air temperature in a room works on a simple scientific principle. Various mechanical techniques achieve the rest. Air conditioners work the same way as a refrigerator. The only difference is refrigerator cools an isolated space whereas air conditioners cool the air in your surroundings.
How Do Air Conditioners Work?
There is a simple physics law that says when a liquid is converted into gas by the process called phase conversion; it absorbs heat. Air conditioners apply this physics law and use the method of refrigeration to cool the indoor air. Air conditioners use unique compounds called refrigerants and make them undergo the process of phase conversion that evaporates and condenses the refrigerant over and over again to deliver cold air.
An air conditioner has a closed system of coils. The first thing that an air conditioner does is that it absorbs a certain amount of warm air from the room with the help of fans installed in it and moves the warm air over the cold refrigerant filled coils. When this warm air flows over the cold evaporator coils, the refrigerants present in the reels absorb all the heat from the warm air and turn from liquid to gas. The warm air that has been converted to cold air is then released back in the room.
To keep the cooling process continuous, the refrigerant gas has to be converted back to liquid. For saving the refrigerant gas to a liquid, the compressor installed in the air conditioner puts the gas under high pressure, and as the gas starts cooling, it converts into liquid. But the compressing of gas creates a lot of unwanted heat. This excess heat is then released outside the room with the help of condenser coils and fans.
Basically how the air conditioner works is that it converts warm air to cold air by compressing the refrigerants and then the resulting refrigerant gas is converted back to liquid. This process is repeated again and again till the warm air present in the room converts into the cold air and the desired room temperature is achieved. All this is made possible with the help of different parts installed in an air conditioner.
Important Parts Of Air Conditioners
Air conditioners come in many types like window AC, split AC, portable AC, and central AC. No matter what type, all air conditioners have these four components installed in them:
- Evaporator– it is a vital part of the air conditioner because it is where the heat from the warm air is absorbed. The evaporator is heat-exchanging coils that contain the depressurized refrigerants. So when the warm wind blows over the loop, it absorbs all the heat from it. It is because of the law of thermodynamics that states that heat flows naturally from hot to cold. As the refrigerant absorbs heat, it evaporates to form a vapour.
- Compressor– the primary purpose of the compressor is to increase the temperature of the refrigerant gases by pressurizing them. The combined gas law states that if pressure increases, then the temperature also increases. So when the refrigerant gas is compressed by squeezing it very tightly together, it heats up. We heat the gas because we need to make the temperature of the refrigerant hotter than the outdoor temperature. The temperature of the gas needs to be more than the outside temperature because heat travels from hot to cold, thus if the refrigerant is warmer than the outside temperature, then heat will be quickly released outside. That is why we need a compressor to pressurize the refrigerants and increase its temperature. In a split air conditioning system, the compressor is located in the outside unit.
- Condenser– The condenser coil is the opposite of the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil contains cold refrigerants, whereas the condenser coil contains hot refrigerants. The main job of a condenser is to release the excess heat energy in the outside environment with the help of condenser fans. As the heat leaves, the refrigerant gases are converted into a liquid and then sent back to the expansion valve where it cools down. The condenser is also located in the outside unit in case of a split air conditioner system.
- Expansion valve– after the refrigerant leaves the condenser, it needs to go back to the evaporator. But the refrigerants are hot when they leave the capacitor, and it needs to be cooled down before it can enter the evaporator. It is where the expansion valve comes into play. The expansion valve uses the principle of combined gas law that states when pressure decreases, then the temperature also drops. Thus the expansion valve depressurizes the refrigerant and cools it. It also controls the amount of coolant that will enter the evaporator.
Types Of Air Conditioners
Choosing which type of air conditioner is best for you depends on many factors like how big is the area that you want to be cooled, the amount of heat generated inside that area, etc. There are mainly four types of air conditioners available in the market:
- Window Air Conditioners– they are the most common air conditioners for single rooms. In a window air conditioner, all the parts are enclosed in a single box. This unit is then attached into windowsills of the room.
- Split Air Conditioners– They comprise two parts, indoor unit, and outdoor unit. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil, whereas the outdoor unit includes components like condenser, compressor, and expansion valve. For this type of air conditioner, you do not need to make any slots in the room, and it can be used to chill one or two rooms.
- Portable Air Conditioners– They are self-contained portable systems ideal for single cooling rooms. They can be placed on the floor of the room and generally has wheels to move it around. Portable air conditioners are a good alternative for window air conditioners.
- Central Air conditioning system– It is used to cool large areas like significant buildings, houses, hotels, gyms, etc. Fitting individual units everywhere can be costly. Thus using the central air conditioning system can be very useful and cost-effective. It contains large compressors that can produce tons of air conditioning.
How to choose the best air conditioner for you?
A good air conditioner not only helps in reducing the temperature of the room in summers but also controls humidity in monsoon, provides heating in winters, and purifies the air all year round. But the market is flooded with options and choosing the best air conditioner for you can be a challenging task. Before buying an air conditioner, you should follow some tips that will help in selecting the best option for you:
- Choose the right type of air conditioners for your needs- first; you have to figure out your requirements and the area’s layout where you want the air conditioner. It will help you in figuring out which type of air conditioner is best for you.
- Check the cooling capacity you need- getting the air conditioner with correct cooling capacity according to your requirements is very important. The cooling capacity is measured in BTUs. So if the BTU capacity of the air conditioner is less for your room, the air conditioner won’t work correctly.
- Figure out your budget- it is essential to understand how much money you are willing to spend on the air conditioner. Deciding a budget can help you in determining the correct air conditioner for you.
Where to buy air conditioners?
Nowadays, many companies are manufacturing different types of air conditioners. You can buy air conditioners in person from electronics stores or you can but them online from websites like Amazon.in and Flipkart.com There are many amazing deals available online, and you should try using promo codes and coupons to save money.