If when you think of old-fashioned air conditioning methods you think of fans blowing over large blocks of ice and how far we have come in the past 100 years or so, you would be wrong. The truth is, with the addition of a few new electronic gizmos, the processes that we use to cool ourselves today are the same in concept as they were 100 years ago. There might not be any more ice blocks, but there is a blower, combined with a simple law of physics.
As Your Physics Teacher
As any physics teacher will tell you, when a liquid converts to a gas, it absorbs heat. This process, called phase conversion, takes place within the closed network of coils that are inside the air conditioner. These compounds, called refrigerants, are created so that they change into a gas at a relatively low temperature.
Air conditioners also contain fans that move warm air over the refrigerant-filled coils. It is important to note that even with large central air conditioning units the very same principles are followed, only with larger blowers and ducts that divert the moving air.
Whala! Cool Air!
If the air conditioning system stopped at this point the air wouldn’t be very cool. Instead, in order to make the cooling process more efficient, the liquid that was at first converted to a gas needs to be converted back to a liquid again. In this process, however, a compressor compresses the gas at high temperature, which creates heat that is moved outdoors via condenser coils and a second fan. What is left is cool air that is blown into your home or room, and the process begins all over again.
The Anatomy of an Air Conditioner
If the above is all an air conditioner did it probably wouldn’t be very efficient in that it would run without any control over how and when it did its job. Instead, there are several other processes that work simultaneously to make you cool and comfortable. First, there’s the thermostat, which monitors the temperature at which your air conditioner works. This is a two-way function, of course, since you can manually override this process when you want to change that temperature. Another process is the dehumidifier, which works as the air conditioner works because moisture is taken out of the air as it cools.
Window vs. Central
Electricity Companies Wingate Texas will tell you, As relatively simple as all of this sounds, window air conditioners are different from central air systems in that the former are all contained in a metal box that fits inside your window. Central air units share a thermostat with the heating system which makes them work together when you adjust the temperature accordingly, making you comfortable regardless of the season.