Now That’s Cool: How Air Conditioning Works

May 5 2015

James Patten


With summer on its way, the days aren’t just going to get brighter, but pretty warm too. And that means you’ll be dreading the season, fearing the hot, sticky, tropical climes of your office in sunny Slough.

And that’s why the heating and cooling gods blessed us with the air conditioner. We’ve all heard of AC, and we’ve all felt sweetly soothing, whispering breath that saves us from melting away under the weight of our own sweat. But how does it work? Well, as specialists in the field of industrial heaters and coolers, we thought we’d reveal all.


The Basics

When you think of air conditioning, what do you imagine taking place inside that little white box with the fan humming in the background? Air goes in one spout, and out another, like the through flow of an open window?


There are lots of different types of air conditioners; the AC unit in your car isn’t quite the same as the one you have at home, which, in turn, isn’t identical to the one at your workplace. But all AC units work on the same principle: evaporation.


See, when liquid becomes gas – which is known as ‘phase conversion’ – it absorbs the heat, making it feel cooler. Air conditioners take full advantage of this, by pushing refrigerants over evaporator coils that heat them up, then cool them down. So we start with a liquid refrigerant, which is then converted to a gas, which is converted back to a liquid. And this process goes on again and again and again.

The Kit

So what magic sits inside an air conditioning unit? Four major parts allow the unit to convert liquids to gas, and create cool air out of warm. These are:

  • Condenser
  • Evaporator
  • Expansion Valve
  • Compressor

And what do each of these do? Let’s take it from the top.


The Condenser

The condenser is a coil that pulls air and refrigerants over the coil. When the air absorbs heat from the condenser, the refrigerants convert from gas into a liquid.


The Evaporator

The evaporator coils work in the opposite way to the condenser. It takes heat from the surrounding air, then letting the cool air enter the premises via a duct.


The Expansion Valve

The expansion valve is like the gate-keeper, determining the flow of refrigerants to the evaporator coil.


The Compressor

The compressor is the brain of the whole unit. It’s the pump that controls the pressure of the refrigerants, ensuring they do their job cooling your office.

So now you know! And if all this talk about cooling off has all got you hot under the collar, you could always contact us on 01509 814 123. Our experienced, professional team will be delighted to assist with all of your enquiries.

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