Air conditioners make use of a number of different parts for effectively cooling your home. The condenser is an important component to maintain the correct temperature. Most people don’t understand the way a condenser works since it accomplishes various different tasks at the same time. Northern California homeowners can better recognize potential problems with their air conditioner by knowing how different components work together.
This blog talks about how the condenser of an air conditioner works.
Refrigerant is a low-pressure coolant that exits the evaporator coil in the form of a gas. In the evaporator coil it absorbs the heat from your home. The gaseous refrigerant enters the compressor next where it is packed tightly. This process increases the temperature as well. The condenser’s job is to lower the temperature of the refrigerant to transform it back into liquid form.
The first task of the condenser is to de-superheat the refrigerant. When a liquid is boiled to a certain temperature at a given pressure, it reaches the saturation temperature. This is where the liquid turns into gaseous form. The gas turns into superheated state when the temperature continues rising even beyond the saturation temperature.
The refrigerant in an air conditioner is in this superheated state as it flows into the compressor and out of the condenser. De-superheating refers to cooling the refrigerant back to the saturation temperature so that the refrigerant turns back to its liquid form. The gaseous temperature is passed through the condenser a number of times to reject the superheat.
The actual work of a condenser begins once the superheat from the refrigerant is rejected. Condensation refers to the transformation of gaseous refrigerant back to its liquid state. The mechanics of condensation are the same as de-superheating. The refrigerant is circulated through the condenser multiple times to effectively condense it.
Condensers have multiple fins that allow heat to transfer into the surrounding air. This occurs as the refrigerant is made to flow through the condenser. The fan on top of the condenser unit makes sure the heated air gets cooled quickly. This enables the process of air conditioning to continue. The refrigerant within the air conditioner automatically transforms into liquid state once its temperature goes below the saturation temperature.
Once the refrigerant gets converted to liquid state, it is called a fully saturated liquid. The refrigerant, at this point, is still in a volatile state. Even the tiniest temperature increase will cause some part of it to shift back to gaseous state. This severely limits the potential cooling achieved by a refrigerant.
Condenser helps in increasing the effectiveness of the refrigerant by continuing the cooling beyond the saturation temperature. This process is known as subcooling. It helps in improving the stability of the refrigerant. The refrigerant, as a result, continues to remain a liquid on its return journey back to the evaporator coil and inside the house.
There is a pre-determined subcooling limit in all air conditioners. However, as the system ages, it undergoes wear and tear. This makes it harder for the refrigerant to come back to this level. Eventually, the efficiency of an air conditioner system goes down. This is one of the reasons why experts recommend having an air conditioning system regularly serviced and maintained.