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The anatomy of air conditioners

The anatomy of air conditioners REEF AIR

The anatomy of air conditioners

Air conditioners are everywhere you go today. ACs have now become a necessity and no longer a luxury as it used to be. That said, not too many AC owners bother to sit down and think of how they work. Unless you have a special knack for science, all you know about ACs is that they cool your home and nothing more.

Understanding how you AC system works can go a long way in helping you cut down on operation costs.

We’ll start from the very basics

An air conditioner means more than just having a neat box installed outside or the rooftop of your house with another unit installed inside the house. It goes beyond that. All air conditioners are the same regardless. Whether it’s multi-split, ducted, or split, the basic components are the same.

This post will highlight the various components, so you know what their functions are.

Evaporator. This happens to be coil situated in the unit installed indoors. The refrigerant normally flows through it. When it is in a cooling mode, and with the support of a fan, the indoor unit keeps sucking in heated air over the cooling evaporator coils, before blowing the low-temperature air back to the room.

Compressor. The heat that’s collected inside is moved via tubes to the outdoor unit’s compressor. The compressor’s responsibility is in compressing the refrigerant gas with low pressure, increasing the pressure enough to expel the heat outdoors.

Condenser. This happens to be a second coil positioned in the unit outside that receives compressed hot refrigerant gas. Thanks to a second fan, the heat is expelled into the atmosphere outside, where the refrigerant gas is condensed into liquid.

Expansion valve. In air conditioners, this is where the final work is done. It helps to redirect the refrigerant back to the evaporator, where the cycle is started all over.

So how do the components work together? The operation of air conditioners is based on heat exchange. The refrigerant inside the AC’s coils transit between the outdoor and indoor units, transporting heat from one spot to another. When it’s summer, the heat is moved from inside to outside your home, which makes your home cooler. During winter, the reverse is the case, with the intention of heating up your house.

What refrigerants do?

You may be wondering why refrigerants have been mentioned many times already in this post. The reason they are so important is because they can seamlessly change between liquid and gaseous states with great ease.

Some of the most popular refrigerants today include R-410A and R-32. Although they are both hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), R-32 has been preferred over the other one because it has less potentials to cause global warming. Most air conditioners use R-32. Daikin was the first product that used R-32. They later allowed other manufacturers to use the patent, enabling them to freely create their own R-32. That was Daikin’s way of supporting the Kigali agreement, an initiative targeted at toning down HCFCs, as well as reducing the negative effects AC refrigerants were having on the environment. Currently, Daikin units that function with R-32 refrigerants is being sold in more than 70 nations across the world.

Moisture is equally important

The volume of water vapour within the atmosphere (humidity) also has a great role to play when a space is being cooled or heated. It is harder for a human body to cool itself in an environment that is humid. That is why air conditioners must remove the water vapour in a space during cooling. Having said that, air that is extremely dry can be uncomfortable and irritable for people with allergies or asthma. Air conditioners like the Daikin US7 is equipped with features that balance the indoor humidity level to ensure a more comfortable and ideal environment.

Some other air conditioners are also good at filtering the air as well. All Daikin split systems happen to be Sensitive Choice licensed and approved by NACA (National Asthma Council of Australia). The systems are manufactured with air purification filter, like TADAP. Such filters can collect majority of airborne particles and are also good for decomposing odours, absorbing and deactivating bacteria. That makes them a perfect pick for anyone that has concerns over the purity of the air they are breathing.

What does it mean for hot air to rise?

A science based fact that is useful in air-conditioning any space is that hot air rises. When air is heated, it becomes lighter than the surrounding air, causing it to float to the top just like a cork floating in water.

When you have split unit, and you angle the louvers during cooling, point it to your ceiling so the cool air can come down naturally. During the winter periods when the air conditioner is in heating mode, angle the louvers downward so the heated air can start heating your legs before it rises.

Got any more questions about the science of air conditioning? Our experts will be happy to help explain the ins and outs – just contact Reef Air.

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