Air Conditioner 101: Air Conditioning Basics and Myths

You know your air conditioner keeps the temperature at home low and the electricity bill high…but do you know what goes on behind that cool calm exterior? Here’s all you need to know about how air conditioners work.

Main Components

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In short – the AC collects the hot air and processes it to release cool air into any space, be it a room, a car or even an entire office floor. These are its main five components:

Evaporator: The evaporator coil is basically a series of pipes connected to an air handler that blows the indoor air across it, causing the evaporator to absorb heat from the surrounding air.

Compressor: Controlled by the thermostat, (and as the name suggests), the compressor compresses the gaseous refrigerant so that it can flow through the system.

Condenser: It receives the refrigerant in gaseous form and converts it to a liquid state which then reaches the expansion valve.

Expansion Valve: This valve removes pressure from the refrigerant and rapidly cools it down to a cold gas.

Refrigerant: This is a heat-transference fluid that changes between liquid and gaseous state, while absorbing and releasing heat.

After it passes through the expansion valve, the refrigerant moves through the indoor evaporator coil, where it comes in contact with the warm indoor air and lower the temperature of the air through evaporation.

Common Misconceptions

AC creates cool air: So contrary to what you thought, the AC does not create cool air and blow it out to cool the room. It takes in the warmer air from the room it’s in and turns it into cooler air.

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Setting a lower temperature will cool faster: The temperature that you set is just the goal temperature. The unit senses the difference between the actual temperature and the temperature you’ve set and works at cooling the air in the room. It only means that it will work extra time to reach a temperature of 18 degrees as compared to 25 or 26 degrees – which is comfortable enough.

Switch AC on and off to save money: Firstly, the warmer the room, the harder the unit has to work to cool it. Switching the AC on and off will use up more energy. Consider using a timer instead.

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ACs don’t need regular servicing: Even if the unit has no obvious problem, regular servicing is required to keep it working efficiently and prolong it’s life.

Power consumption depends only on the temperature and settings: The power the AC consumes depends on many factors like the temperature outside, the star rating, the size of the room, whether there are cracks or gaps in the room causing the air to escape, number of people, etc.

Feel like you know your air conditioner better now? This will help better your relationship with it so you can take of your AC and it will take care of you.

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