Engineering Question #400

D. Tolenaar, a 34 year old male from the Internet asks on June 21, 1998,

How does air conditioning work?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on June 21, 1998

Air conditioners are simply refrigerators that cool room air instead of the contents of a refrigerator. Refrigerators are heat pumps that pump heat out by using the latent heat of evaporation to pick up heat in one place (by changing a liquid to a gas) and then moving this gas through a pipe to another spot where condensation (turning the gas back into a liquid) releases the heat in another place. For air conditioners, warm air is drawn over the cool coils and blown into the room, while the other set of hot coils are vented outside. There is a diagram at the How Stuff Works website that explains this fully.

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