Air Conditioning Overview

Here is how Air Conditioning works...

The first modern air conditioning system was developed in 1902 by a young electrical engineer named Willis Haviland Carrier. It was designed to solve a humidity problem at the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Paper stock at the plant would sometimes absorb moisture from the warm summer air, making it difficult to apply the layered inking techniques of the time. Carrier treated the air inside the building by blowing it across chilled pipes. The air cooled as it passed across the cold pipes, and since cool air can't carry as much moisture as warm air, the process reduced the humidity in the plant and stabilized the moisture content of the paper. Reducing the humidity also had the side benefit of lowering the air temperature -- and a new technology was born.

 

COOL THE GREEN WAY

The chemical composition of modern refrigerant compounds has changed over the last few decades as a result of environmental concerns and international treaty agreements like the Montreal Protocol. Older refrigerant formulas containing chlorine atoms that had the potential to damage the ozone layer have slowly been phased out in favor of more environmentally friendly coolants 

 Maybe you'll never be an expert on heating and air conditioning. But you can come darn close. If you have a question about air conditioning, energy efficiency, heating repair, or just about anything else, we have the answers. Want to know how the efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment is measured? Who doesn't! Or maybe you're curious if there are any air conditioning systems that are safe for the environment? Our Web site is your ticket to endless heating and air conditioning knowledge.

 

Air-conditioning Basics

Air conditioners use refrigeration to chill indoor air, taking advantage of a remarkable physical law: When a liquid converts to a gas (in a process called phase conversion), it absorbs heat. Air conditioners exploit this feature of phase conversion by forcing special chemical compounds to evaporate and condense over and over again in a closed system of coils.

The compounds involved are refrigerants that have properties enabling them to change at relatively low temperatures. Air conditioners also contain fans that move warm interior air over these cold, refrigerant-filled coils. In fact, central air conditioners have a whole system of ducts designed to funnel air to and from these serpentine, air-chilling coils.

When hot air flows over the cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, the refrigerant inside absorbs heat as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state. To keep cooling efficiently, the air conditioner has to convert the refrigerant gas back to a liquid again. To do that, a compressor puts the gas under high pressure, a process that creates unwanted heat. All the extra heat created by compressing the gas is then evacuated to the outdoors with the help of a second set of coils calledcondenser coils, and a second fan. As the gas cools, it changes back to a liquid, and the process starts all over again. Think of it as an endless, elegant cycle: liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/ heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.

It's easy to see that there are two distinct things going on in an air conditioner. Refrigerant is chilling the indoor air, and the resulting gas is being continually compressed and cooled for conversion back to a liquid again. On the next page, we'll look at how the different parts of an air conditioner work to make all that possible.

And once you've soaked that all up, Impress your friends, family and co-workers with your encyclopedic heating and air conditioning vocabulary. Who wouldn't want to use sentences peppered with words like A-Coil, Crankcase Heater and Wet Bulb Thermometer?

 

 

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