How does your air conditioner work-Toronto AC expert


Have you ever wondered how air conditioners work? Whether you are a new owner or have been in your home for years, the more you understand how an air conditioner works in Toronto, the better off you will be.

Air conditioners offer you essential thermal comfort during a scorching summer. Specifically, air conditioners help to keep the room temperature at an optimal level. They also help remove airborne particles and humidity from the room.

Let’s start with a very simple approach to understanding how an air conditioner works.

An air conditioner has two coils connected with a refrigerant continuously circulating inside. The coil inside the room is called the evaporator and the coil outside the room is called the condenser. The basic principle of an air conditioner is simple. Simply keep the evaporator cold, more specifically cooler than the ambient temperature, and the condenser warm, especially warmer than the environment in Toronto. Under these conditions, the fluid flowing continuously will absorb the heat from the room and eject it into the environment. This is the basic rule of an air conditioner.

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Let’s see how this rule is implemented in practice. To achieve this objective, two more components are needed inside your air conditioner, a compressor, and an expansion valve. As you can probably guess, the compressor increases the pressure of the refrigerant. Here, you can see a working example of a reciprocating type compressor. The compressor handles the refrigerant in its gaseous state so that as it compresses the gas, the temperature rises along with the pressure. The temperature at the compressor outlet will be far higher than the atmospheric temperature. Therefore, if you pass this hot gas through the condenser heat exchanger, you can easily eject the heat. A fan in the condenser unit makes this task easier. During this heat ejection phase, the gas gets condensed to a liquid. An expansion valve is fitted at the exit of the condenser in Toronto. The purpose of the expansion valve is to restrict the refrigerant flow, thus reducing the pressure of the fluid. Here comes the main trick.

You might be aware that it is possible to boil a liquid just by reducing the pressure around it. This phenomenon happens inside the expansion valve as well. As the pressure drops, one part of the refrigerant liquid is evaporated. However, for this evaporation to happen, some energy should be supplied to it. This energy comes from within the refrigerant so its temperature drops in Toronto. This is how the cold refrigerant is produced inside an air conditioner. 

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This low-temperature refrigerant should be at a temperature lower than the room temperature. So bypassing the room’s air over the evaporator coil, the room temperature will drop. The refrigerant gets converted to vapor during this heat absorption process. You might have heard a term called ton associated with the air conditioners. The ton represents how much heat the evaporator can absorb from the room. In simple words, it represents an air conditioner’s heat removal capability. In this way, we have achieved the fundamental rule of an air conditioner in Toronto. The temperature is lower than the room temperature in the coil inside the room and the temperature is more than the atmospheric temperature in the coil outside the room. In an actual air conditioner, the compressor sits near to the condenser and the expansion valve sits near to the evaporator. 

There are some practical issues with this design. Near to the evaporator coils, the air temperature will be quite low. This will lead to water condensation on the evaporator coils. That’s why we need a pipe to remove this water condensate. Modern air conditioners use scroll compressors instead of the reciprocating type. You can see how the compression process happens from this animation in Toronto. They are silent and they have good speed control. Do you know how your air conditioner can maintain an almost steady room temperature irrespective of the load? Modern air conditioners use a variable speed motor technology called inverter technology for better temperature control. Just by adjusting the motor speed, the compressor speed, the refrigerant flow rate, and the cooling capacity can be controlled accurately. 

Here comes an interesting design challenge for the air conditioner. The compressor of an air conditioner is designed to handle only vapor and a small fraction of liquid content can affect its performance and damage the compressor. For these reasons, it is desired that the evaporator convert all of the liquid to vapor and even increase the temperature of the vapor by five to eight degrees celsius after the conversion in Toronto. How does it make sure that the fluid which enters the compressor is purely vapored? This condition is maintained by a special kind of expansion valve called a thermostatic expansion valve.

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The TXV is similar to the expansion valve we saw earlier but here the temperature of a bulb controls the needle. The bulb is connected to the evaporator exit. The refrigerant inside the bulb is separated from the main refrigeration cycle by a diaphragm. When the bulb is hot, the refrigerant inside it will be evaporated and the needle will move down. We know the sudden cooling of the refrigerant is achieved across the expansion valve with the help of the restriction in Toronto. The narrower the restriction, the cooler the outlet refrigerant will be. Let’s consider a bad situation for the compressor. 

Assume the evaporator temperature is not so low, so the evaporator absorbs very low heat, and all the liquid in it will not be converted to vapor. Thus, the refrigerant, which leaves for the compressor, will not be superheated. This low temperature at the evaporator exit will immediately be sensed by the ball and will cause the needle to move upwards and make the restriction narrower. The narrow restriction causes a good temperature drop, thus the evaporator will receive much cooler fluid and it can absorb a great amount of heat. This will make sure that all the liquid will be converted to vapor in Toronto. Thus, the complex task of having a vapor-only condition at the compressor inlet is automatically maintained by the TXV. 

Let us clear up a common misconception at this stage. TXVs do not control the room temperature, they just make sure that the compressor receives the refrigerant in pure vapor form. The refrigerant flow rate and the room temperature are controlled by the speed of the compressor. Due to their simplicity and efficiency, TXVs are widely used in industrial and domestic applications. 

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That’s how an air conditioner works. Nobody wants that in the middle of the summer in Toronto. To avoid unexpected breakdowns there’s some simple maintenance you can do, on your own, to help keep your air conditioner running as smooth as possible all summer long. If you ever do find yourself with an Air Conditioner that isn’t working, be careful how much you attempt on your own. It’s easy to get in over your head and do more damage than good. There are a lot of moving parts and pieces and it’s always good to have a certified HVAC technician that knows what he’s doing come out and take a look at your system. He’ll have all the proper tools and experience to be able to diagnose and fix the problem right the first time.