What would happen if humans were able to control the weather? If there was a remote control in your hand and you could make the heat go away or make the snow go away or stop it from raining. All hell will break loose, right? Well, it is impossible to control the weather but you can definitely control the temperature of a room thanks to an air-conditioner. Going back to history, it was always easy to make the cold go away by building a fire but it was impossible to cool something down that was really hot. That technology still did not find its way. That is why Elagabulus, the famous Roman emperor sent his slaves to the mountains so that they could bring snow when the weather was hot.
As time progressed, technology got advanced and it was in 1902 that the concept of air conditioning was first introduced. The first air conditioner was developed to tackle the humidity problem in a factory but soon it became highly popular because of the comfort that people got when they came from a hot and humid place and immediately got a chance to cool down. Nowadays, almost every house and office has an air conditioner because the global temperature is ever-rising. In fact, a report suggests that the use of ACs will increase to thrice the amount by 2050. So, how does the machine work to cool your rooms down? Here’s an easy explanation that will help to understand.
The air cooling process
Every air conditioning unit uses special chemicals that help to convert gas to liquid form and then back to gas again. The chemicals also send the heat from your room to the outside so that the cool breeze or cool air can keep the room temperature down. Think of it this way; there are a gas chamber and air filter. The gas chamber contains gas and in between the gas chamber and air filter, there are special chemicals. The gas is connected to the filter and it passes through the area that has those chemicals. So, when the gas hits the filter, it has to go through two steps: first, it passes through the chemicals where the gas turns into liquid and by the time it reaches the filter, it turns to gas again and it finally passes through the filter and emits cool air into the room.
Now, let’s understand it from the point of the view of the air conditioning unit. The cooling fluid first passes into the compressor. It reaches as a low-pressure gas where the compressor squeezes the gas so that the molecules stick together very closely. The higher the pressure from the compressor, the higher the temperature that the air conditioner will be able to cool the room down.
Air conditioners in your home
There are two types of air conditioners that are normally used in homes: split AC and window AC. Both their functions are the same and the cooling concept is also almost identical. It is just the fact that the units don’t match and split ACs cost more because they can cool a room down quicker than window ACs. Here is how ACs that are used in homes normally work.
The fluid consisting of the chemicals exit from the compressor as a hot has with high-pressure. It enters the compressor with low-pressure but because of the pressure applied in the compressor, it becomes hot when it exits. This hot gas moves into the condenser. The outdoor unit of the AC that has got a huge fan, helps to extract the heat from the room and dissipate it more quickly. The fluid that leaves the condenser is cooler than the one that enters it in the first place. The high pressure that exists changes the gas to a liquid that reaches the evaporator through a small tube. This helps to extract the heat from the root and the outdoor unit throws this heat away.
The chemicals that leave the evaporator form a chilled kind of gas that gets circulated around the room. This ultimately cools the temperature down. So, it is a three-part procedure that takes place inside the AC. Although the entire process may seem to be complicated and time-consuming, it happens within a millisecond and continues to happen till the AC is switched off.
Evolution of the air conditioner
When the first air conditioner was introduced, the ozone layer was still intact and no one knew that ACs can harm this layer to a devastating extent. But with the development of complicated refrigerants, it was soon found that HCFC content in these refrigerants became a major contribution to destroying the ozone layer.
The R22 gas became a huge hit because it had a comparatively low level of HCFC. However, the danger was still not averted. It was found that R22 could go on to harm the ozone layer if there was a leakage. That is why it was declared that AC manufacturers will have to come up with a different refrigerant that will not harm the ozone layer in any way. This brought the R410A gas that is an HFC without chlorine. It is totally different from the HCFC gases that existed for a long time.
Most of the air conditioner manufacturing companies have started using the R410A gas because of its high quality. All the new models that are being introduced have abolished the old system of cooling down. The R410A gas has the ability to extract the hot air from the room quickly and cool the room quicker than the R22 gas.
If you are planning to buy an air conditioner soon, make sure you ask if the unit uses R410A gas and has a good SEER rank. SEER is Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It indicates the efficiency of an air conditioner. So, you should be looking to buy an AC that has a high SEER rating so that it uses a lesser amount of energy. Although the price will be slightly higher, you will be doing a lot of good to the environment. Learn more here.