How Does Refrigerated Air Conditioning Work?
Refrigerated air conditioning works by transferring heat from inside your home to the outdoors via a refrigerant. Whether you’ve got split reverse cycle air conditioning in one room or a ducted system providing cool air to your entire house, the process is very similar.
In this guide, we walk you through how refrigerated air conditioning works and how it differs from evaporative cooling. Plus, find out whether a ducted refrigerative air conditioner is the right system for your needs.
How does refrigerated air conditioning work?
Most modern air conditioners work using a refrigeration cycle, in a very similar way to how fridges and freezers work. Essentially, refrigerated air conditioning moves heat from inside your home to the outside by pressuring and depressurising a refrigerant.
Refrigerants are compounds which can change from a liquid to gas at relatively low temperatures. When cold, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air inside your home. The cooled air is returned to your room. With the extra heat energy, the refrigerant is then pressurised so it heats up even more. The heat is transferred to the outdoors before the cycle starts again.
How does the refrigeration cycle work?
The steps below explain how refrigerated air conditioning works:
- Warm air from inside your home is sucked into the air conditioner vents, passing through a filter.
- The air flows over a set of evaporator coils which contain a cold liquid refrigerant. The liquid refrigerant absorbs heat energy from the warm air, causing the refrigerant to change from a liquid to a gas.
- The now cool air is blown back into the room by a fan.
- The warmed refrigerant gas flows through the compressor where it’s pressurised to become even hotter. It needs to become hotter than the temperature outdoors.
- A fan blows hot air from outside over the condenser coils. Since the refrigerant gas is even hotter than the outdoor air, heat energy is transferred from the condenser coils to the outside air. After the refrigerant loses heat energy, it converts back into a liquid.
- To make the refrigerant cold enough to go through the cycle again, it is first depressurised by a metering device. Once cooled down appropriately, the refrigerant liquid flows back into the evaporator coils and the refrigeration cycle starts again.
What is the difference between evaporative and refrigerated air conditioning?
While refrigerated air conditioning relies on the refrigeration cycle to cool your home, evaporative air conditioning uses the natural process of evaporation. Refrigerated cooling systems use refrigerants to transfer heat, whereas evaporative cooling uses water.
In a ducted evaporative air conditioning system, warm air from inside your home flows over cold water which absorbs the heat. Some of the warmed water then evaporates, transferring the heat into the atmosphere. The cooled air is blown back into your home.
The main advantage of evaporative air conditioning is that it uses much less energy to run compared to refrigerated air conditioners. While evaporative systems provide effective cooling in dry climates, they can struggle to work well on humid days when there is already a lot of water vapour in the air.
Refrigerative air conditioners are more consistent and provide better climate control, but are more expensive to run. That being said, modern refrigerative systems are more cost-effective than ever, especially if you have control over the temperature settings in the different rooms of your house. To make your cooling even more efficient, check out these tips to save money on your air conditioning bill.
Is ducted refrigerated air conditioning right for you?
If you want reliable temperature control for your entire home, ducted refrigerated air conditioning could be the right choice for you.
Reasons to choose a ducted refrigerated air conditioning:
- Cool your entire home with a single system. Reverse cycle systems have the added benefit of heating your home during the winter months.
- Get highly effective heating and cooling, whatever the weather conditions.
- Control the temperature and airflow in each room of your home so you can meet everyone’s comfort levels.
- Operate your system through a central controller. Modern systems also allow you to control your system through a smartphone or tablet.
How to get the most out of your refrigerated air conditioning unit
Good quality refrigerative air conditioning systems will provide reliable and efficient cooling (and heating in the case of reverse cycle air conditioning). However, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of your refrigerated air conditioning unit.
- Get a regular air conditioning service – keeping your AC in top shape will ensure better air quality, performance and durability.
- Set your thermostat higher – increasing your thermostat by a couple of degrees can significantly reduce the amount of energy your system consumes.
- Create climate zones – cooling the rooms that are in use instead of the whole house will reduce your energy bill.
- Install insulation – if you’re building or renovating, update your insulation to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling.
Read more tips: How to efficiently run air conditioning at home.
Installing ducted refrigerative air conditioning in your home
Ducted systems are often installed during construction or major renovations, but they can also be retrofitted to existing homes. While split system air conditioning is fairly simple to install, ducted air conditioning can be more complex, requiring access to your roof space. Getting a quality, professional installation is crucial to ensure your system is safe and optimised for your home.
If you’re building a new home, we recommend contacting a reputable air conditioning specialist in your area to compare direct pricing with what your builder is offering. You may find you can save significantly by going directly with air conditioning experts like iBreeze.
If you’re not sure what system is right for your needs or need more information about how refrigerated air conditioning works, our friendly team is here to help. We’re committed to honest, transparent advice without the sales pitch.
Get a free, no-obligation quote from us today. Call us on (08) 9534 9491.
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