How does an air conditioner work?

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The basic principles of the refrigeration cycle and explaining reverse cycle and split system air conditoning.

A refrigerated air conditioning system works in the same basic principles as a refrigerator that keeps your food fresh.

The function of an air conditioner is the transfer of heat from one location to another. It does this by passing air over a circuit of copper pipes called an evaporator coil, cooled by a fluid called refrigerant.

Refrigerant is a chemical capable of efficiently changing between liquid and gas. In a refrigeration cycle, the pressurised refrigerant is constantly moving and changing from gas to liquid as it transfers heat.

The heat collected inside the room is expelled outside by another coil called a condenser. A compressor pumps (and compresses) the refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser forcing it through the copper piping. This is the basic refrigeration cycle.

Sealing windows
Shading windows

What is reverse cycle air conditioning?

Reverse cycle air conditioning uses a specialised 4-way reversing valve located in the outdoor unit. This valve reverses the refrigeration cycle and the flow of refrigerant. When this happens the removal and addition of heat is swapped so that heat is collected from outside (even in very cold temperatures) and brought inside. This is why in winter while heating the outdoor unit expels cold air while in summer and cooling the outdoor unit will expel warm air.

The term heat pump is basically the same as reverse cycle just different terminology. The system is pumping heat from outside to inside, or reversed from inside to outside.

How can a heat pump extract heat from the cold winter air? In thermodynamics heat is defined as the motion of molecules. Even in cold temperatures these molecules are still moving and this 'heat' can still be extracted and absorbed into the refrigerant. Because in winter, under heating the outdoor unit is expelling cold air the coils can frost up in extreme temperatures. Periodacally a unit will go into defrost mode for a few minutes to remove this frost before returning back to normal operation.

Why install reverse cycle air conditioning?

A professionally installed reverse cycle air conditioning system can maintain your perfect temperature all year no matter the weather.

Family enjoying their Mitsubishi Electric system maintained regularly by Airtech

An air conditioning system that is reliable and quality built, like Mitsubishi Electric, can help keep your cool in summer and warm in winter.

Please contact us and we can provide a free quotation to solve your air conditioning needs.