Mechanical Air Conditioners - Part II - Air Conditioner Parts


This article on air conditioner parts is an expansion of Part I - Operating Principle. It provides simple information on main, auxiliary, and control elements that make up a functional mechanical AC.

By TS Mohamed Rasied

Part II of Mechanical Air Conditioners' article is here!

This article is an extension to "Mechanical Air Conditioners - Part I - Operating Principle", and I will be talking about AC parts used in mechanical air conditioners.

Air conditioner parts that we put into a mechanical AC, should conform to the operating principle. Air conditioning parts for this type of equipment are divided into three categories. The,

  • main and compulsory parts. This category is mandatory, otherwise, a mechanical air conditioner will not function at all

  • the support parts, to ensure that the air conditioning equipment last long, and function effectively, and,

  • the control parts, for improving efficiency of the equipment, and maintaining your comfort and bills - at optimum level

Main air conditioner parts

There are six parts in this category. Let's explore them one by one,

  • The compressor

    Used for compressing refrigerant into high pressure gas into the condenser, and pulling in low pressure gas from the evaporator. The high pressure and low pressure is created by the compressor.

    Common compressors used are piston type, scroll, and rotary compressors

  • Condenser and evaporator

    These are simple finned heat exchangers. These air conditioner parts, are formed using a serpentine shaped copper (or aluminium) tube, with aluminium fins.

    Although the functions are different, the operating principle of these parts is the same. To encourage heat exchange between the refrigerant and air.

    Condenser will function to liquefy high pressure refrigerant. Evaporator will function to completely boil low pressure refrigerant, into low pressure gas

  • Expansion device

    Common expansion devices are either capillary tube, OR thermostatic expansion valve. The function is to allow pressure build up from the compressor, and allow for refrigerant to expand into low pressure zone. This air conditioning part will also allow for boiling to start

  • Tube

    Tubes are air conditioner parts that has no moving parts. The main function is to direct refrigerant flow, and contain refrigerant within the AC. Common tube material is either copper, or aluminium

  • Refrigerant

    Air conditioners would not be able to cool, or heat anything without a refrigerant. Therefore, this part is essential. Refrigerant is used for absorbing (at evaporator), and expelling (at condenser) heat.

    Common refrigerant type used in mechanical ACs are the HCFC (hydro-chloro-fluoro-carbon), and HFC (hydro-fluoro-carbon)

  • Fans and blowers

    Fans are placed at the condenser, and blowers are placed at the evaporator - to aid heat exchange. Blowers will also provide better air circulation within your house - and these supply with cool air to you, from the evaporator

Support air conditioning parts

These are conditioner parts provide the protection to the main parts, such that those will last long, and operate reliably. The list,

  • Filter dryer receiver

    Functions to filter small particles from the compressor, remove moisture within the refrigerant, and in some cases, acts as a receiver to supply full liquid column (without bubbles) to the expansion valve.

    It is placed before the expansion valve, and after the compressor

  • Filters

    What more can I say. Air conditioner filters will prevent dust, and other particles from clogging up the evaporator. Of course, you'll have to clean or replace it periodically

  • Tube insulation

    Is the simplest air conditioning part and utilised in refrigerant return line. This part will prevent icing, and condensation on the refrigerant return line.

    Essentially, it will keep the refrigerant from evaporator cold, and allow for better cooling of compressor. Additionally, you'll save on utility bills

  • Muffler

    As the sound deadening air conditioner part, placed at the outlet line of the compressor

  • Casing

    Well, to make sure you can transport main sections (condensing unit and evaporating unit) in simple packages, and used to protect sensitive and main air conditioner parts

Control AC parts

These air conditioner parts are more like the "essential accessories" for any mechanical air conditioner. Here we go,

  • Thermostat and humidistat

    The former AC part is used for controlling the temperature, and the latter for controlling the humidity. Thermostat is used in ALL ACs, but not humidistat. However, the inclusion of humidistat into the system in conjunction with thermostat is common in central ACs

  • Contactor

    Is and electrical component used to control the switching on, and off of compressors, fans, and blowers.

  • Dampers

    Dampers are used in central ACs, to control flow of air, such that you'll get the right comfort from the air conditioning equipment. Dampers is almost vital in central ACs, as it is difficult to balance heat gain and loss requirement in each room - from a single condensing-evaporating central unit

By now, you should have a general idea of what are the air conditioner parts that make up a complete mechanical air conditioner.

TS Mohamed Rasied,
Provides information on air conditioners and air conditioning in her site,
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