Air conditioners are a great way to keep cool in the summer. They are becoming more and more popular as the UK has seen increasingly hot weather over the last few years, but how do they work?
Air conditioners are used to cool the air inside your home. They work in the same way that a refrigerator works to keep your food cold, but they move heat from the inside of your home to the outside. There are four main components you need to know about if you want to understand how air conditioners do their job:
The evaporator coil
Air conditioners blow cool air into your home by taking the heat out of that air and running it over a set of cold pipes called the evaporator coil, which can be found inside your home within an air handler or part of a boiler. The coil is filled with a chemical called a refrigerant, which changes from a liquid to a gas when it absorbs heat from the air.
Next, the refrigerant is pumped outside to another coil called a condenser and gives up its heat. It then changes back into a liquid, which is how the condenser gets its name as the refrigerant condenses from a gas to a liquid, just like steam does on your cold tiles when you take a shower.
The compressor does all the hard work. It is a pump that moves the refrigerant between the two coils and changes the pressure of the refrigerant so that all of it condenses or evaporates in the coils.
The thermostat ensures that your home is always at the right temperature for you. It senses the temperature around you and tells the air conditioner when to turn off and on, depending on what temperature you have set it to. Ideally, the thermostat should be placed in the centre of the home away from direct sunlight or draughts so you don’t get false readings.
Air conditioning systems come in different sizes and will deliver different rates of cooling. Make sure you compare different models and get at least 4 quotes before deciding on the best system for you.