The principle of operation of the air conditioner: split system, mobile, window, floor, without duct

Air conditioners have long been a part of our lives, but the principles of operation and devices are not always clear, and the variety of models is very large - floor, mobile, window, inverter. To deal with this issue, we offer you an overview of similar devices for various purposes with a clear explanation of how exactly they work.


  1. The device and principle of operation of a conventional air conditioner
  2. Inverter air conditioner
  3. Split system
  4. Floor air conditioner
  5. Mobile air conditioning: features
  6. How does a mobile air conditioner work without an air duct?
  7. The principle of operation of a window air conditioner
  8. How does air conditioning work for heating?

The device and principle of operation of a conventional air conditioner

The air conditioner operates in a closed cycle based on two functions:

  • the transition of a substance from a gaseous to a liquid state with increasing pressure (and vice versa);
  • heat generation during condensation (transition from gas to liquid) and cooling during evaporation.
In other words, a compressor is used to transfer heat. It changes the pressure of the refrigerant. Usually, Freon acts in this capacity in various compounds, for example, “R410”. How to fill air conditioning with freon - read here.

Here is the circuit diagram of such a system:

Air conditioner

Phased phase of the cycle is as follows:

  1. A compressor (a small pump with an electric motor) pumps gas pressure by pumping it from the evaporator (in the room) to the condenser (on the street). Due to the increased gas pressure, its temperature can increase to 90 degrees Celsius.

When the compressor is started, for the first seconds it runs without lubrication, since oil flows into the crankcase when the engine is idle. Therefore, each subsequent start of the engine increases its overall wear. It is better for the engine if it runs continuously, but this leads to high energy costs.

  1. In the condenser, freon begins to transfer heat to the environment, because the gas at this moment is hotter than air. The outdoor fan turns on and provides intensive blowing of the heat exchanger, which greatly accelerates the process.
  2. As a result of cooling, the gas turns into a liquid, but the pressure is still high. The temperature of the liquid is still slightly higher than the ambient temperature.
  3. Further, freon passes into the capillary - a thin tube of copper, wound with a long spiral. Another name for this part is the throttle. So the pressure of liquid freon drops to several atmospheres. Part of the liquid immediately goes into a gaseous state.
  4. Freon is in the evaporator. Now the heat exchanger from a liquid state passes into a gaseous state, while the freon is cooled together with the heat exchanger lattice in the room. A room fan drives a stream of air through a chilled grill, quickly drawing cold into the room.
  5. Then the cycle repeats again - from phase 1 to 5.

How the air conditioner works in cooling mode is shown in the diagram:

Air conditioner operation in cooling mode

Since the evaporator is very cold, and the humidity in the room can be high, water droplets appear on the evaporator - condensation. In fact, it is distilled water. Drops accumulate and begin to flow down - over the evaporator and below. Of course, indoors, water is not needed, so usually a pipe is taken to the outside to drain condensate.

The outgoing air flow can be directed using special planes-blinds in the right direction, both horizontally and vertically. Usually, such control can also be carried out with the remote control. Many models can regularly automatically turn the blinds to the sides or up and down, dispersing cool air over a larger volume.

How to install the air conditioner on your own - read here.

Air conditioner dryer - principle of operation

This is one of the elements of the system. Its function is to collect liquid freon flowing out of the condenser and prevent contamination of the refrigerant. It is located on the freon highway, after the capacitor and in front of the throttle:

Air conditioner dryer

Outwardly, the dehumidifier looks like a small tube, expanding towards the middle and tapering towards the ends. Inside the tube is the moisture-absorbing zeolite mineral. There are two grids in the path of freon movement:

  • One at the entrance side with large openings so that the zeolite granules could not get into the capacitor.
  • The second grid is on the exhaust side. The holes in it are relatively small, like in a tea strainer, so as not to let zeolite particles, metal fragments, and so on into the compressor.

In the dehumidifier, another additional hole is usually made. It is used in the assembly and repair of the unit in order to quickly create a vacuum in the system. Otherwise, a throttle having a small diameter would slow down the process of evacuating the air conditioner. This technological hole must not be opened, otherwise the device will stop working.

Inverter air conditioner

The main purpose of the inverter air conditioner is to save energy and extend the operating state of the compressor. In such systems, work does not occur jerkily “on-off”, but with continuously adjustable power. The air conditioner works continuously, but not at full strength. This allows the compressor motor to increase its life. In addition, maintaining a stable temperature in the room requires much lower energy costs than with the "broken rhythm" of a conventional air conditioner.

The compressor rotation speed adjustment is achieved by converting (inverting) the incoming alternating current into direct current, and then again into alternating current, but with a different frequency. Electronics decides how to change the engine speed - reduce or increase, and changes in speed occur smoothly.

But it is important to understand that an inverter air conditioner is more economical only in those places where a conventional air conditioner is switched on only from time to time. With continuous operation, a conventional air conditioner is much more efficient at the same energy costs, because it does not spend electricity on conversion. Therefore, if your inverter air conditioner works at full strength almost continuously - its power was chosen incorrectly.

About what an inverter air conditioner is and whether it is worth overpaying for it, the climate control engineer of the company will tell:

Split system

Split means split. In split systems, the condenser and evaporator are not in a single housing, but can be separated, for example, by a wall. However, they are connected by tubes to exchange refrigerant between them. Usually the external part of the split system is mounted externally on the wall of the building. It contains the following elements:

  • compressor;
  • capacitor;
  • throttle;
  • external fan, etc.

The outside can make quite loud noise during operation (up to 45 decibels), which can cause dissatisfaction with your neighbors.

The internal part is mounted inside the building, it contains:

  • evaporator;
  • air purification filter;
  • temperature regulator;
  • control electronics.

Usually the inside is very quiet.

When installing a split system, special equipment is required to connect the external and internal parts with copper tubes. First of all, this is a vacuum pump, without which it will not be possible to assemble a workable system. Manufacturers do not give warranties for units mounted by non-certified installers.

Modern split systems are equipped with a compressor start control system. This system does not allow the engine to start too quickly after its last shutdown so that it does not overheat.

There are multi-split systems in which not one, but two or more indoor units. But such systems are somewhat more expensive than conventional ones, as they require a more complex system for connecting to an outdoor unit, and more complex control system for each indoor unit (with a separate temperature controller, remote control unit, and so Further).

Most split systems are able to work not only “for cooling”, but also “for heating”.

Floor air conditioner

Floor air conditioners are used when it is undesirable or impossible to use conventional a wall model, for example, the room is too small, and the flow of cold air from the wall will immediately fall on people.

Floor air conditioner

They are of two types: stationary and mobile. Both those and others are not too different from their wall brothers. Stationary floor air conditioning, as a rule, is made according to the “split” scheme. He also needs to exchange heat with the outside world, like the usual one, therefore he is simply fortified at a height of about half a meter above the floor, and all other elements are the same. A mobile air conditioner is most often just a mobile air conditioner.

Mobile air conditioning: features

The device of the mobile air conditioner is almost no different from the stationary. The main difference is that the entire air conditioner is located indoors. In addition, a thick duct pipe is usually required to pump the street atmosphere through a condenser. This duct must be airtight out of the window or a special hole in the walls.

The power of mobile air conditioners is usually small, since they are designed to cool small premises. The noisiest part of the air conditioner (condenser + fan + choke) is placed in the house, so with a lot of power the air conditioner will be uncomfortable in the room.

Most technical solutions include not only an air cooler, but also a heater. An increase in temperature occurs due to direct heating of the air by heating elements. Moreover, their power can be quite large, so check the electrical network for suitability for such loads. Models with the ability to work "on heat", as in split systems (with rearrangement of the hose-duct and without heating elements), can also be found.

Often, mobile air conditioners are equipped with a powerful fan, which allows not only to cool / heat the air in the room, but also to disperse it throughout the building.

The distilled water generated during operation of the unit is most often collected in a special container. In order not to run around with it every hour, pouring out the accumulated water, it is better to choose a model with a larger capacity. Also, some models when filling the water tank simply stop working, giving signals and requiring draining the liquid.

Mobile air conditioners come in handy where there is no reason to install stationary. For example, when renting a house, in a summer cottage or during a long business trip. Often, mobile air coolers are purchased for the kitchen, so that in the summer during operation of all kitchen appliances it was not so hot and stuffy.

You can find out about mobile air conditioners, their pros and cons from the following video, where an example is the TM Carrier 51AKP mobile air conditioner:

How does a mobile air conditioner work without an air duct?

A mobile air conditioner without an air duct is actually not an air conditioner, but a humidifier, with the need to constantly replenish water supplies. Such a device does not remove heat anywhere, but simply drives air out of the room through moist sponge material. Some short-term sensation of coolness is possible in the first minutes of operation due to increased air humidity.

Compared with conventional air conditioning, it has the following disadvantages:

  1. The power of such a device cannot be large - due to the limitation of dimensions and noise, as well as the scope of application in small rooms.
  2. Humidity in the room becomes very high. Accordingly, mold and so on may appear.
  3. It is necessary to add water to this apparatus all the time, otherwise it may turn off altogether.

The principle of operation of a window air conditioner

Window air conditioners are popular for the same reason as mobile ones. Usually they do not work all year round, but only in the hot season. This is a very good solution for the kitchen, when in the summer you want a little cool, and there is no money to buy an expensive device for cooling a small room.

A similar installation looks like this:

The principle of operation of a window air conditioner

As a rule, they are made according to the “monoblock” scheme and occupy an opening for a window leaf. When choosing a window air conditioner, first check whether it is suitable for your specific window (window). It's not only the size, but also the overall strength of the window frame, because the weight of the unit can be considerable, and not every decrepit window can withstand it.

Keep in mind that there will most likely not be a tight tight fit for the window air conditioner case, so you will have to solve the issue of isolation from street air. Some tenants insert air conditioning into the window opening every summer and fill the gaps with building foam, and every fall they remove the unit to cover the windows for the winter. However, it also happens that the air conditioner is installed, sealed, and then takes its place in the window all year round, just in the winter "resting".

Cheap models may not have a remote control - everything is adjustable from the front panel. In this case, this is the right approach - the simpler the better. Less likely to break down complex electronics.

You can visually see how such an air conditioner is arranged and what happens when it works, you can see in the video:

How does air conditioning work for heating?

Existing air conditioners capable of work in winter for heatingare usually equipped with a four-way valve. This valve, switching, causes the refrigerant to heat up from atmospheric air, and, on the contrary, give off heat to the room. This is a very economical way of heating a building, since most of the energy is not spent on actually raising the air temperature, but on transferring heat from the street to the house.

Air conditioner operation in heating mode
On average, heating a room with an air conditioner is about 3 times more economical than heating a house with electrical appliances that are equipped with heating elements (heat electric heaters). How to set the air conditioner to heat is described here:

However, it should be noted that the colder it is outside the window and the warmer it should be in your room, the less air conditioning is suitable for this. In frosts of -15 and below, household air conditioning usually can no longer provide heat transfer from the street to the house, since:

  • The air conditioner was originally designed for cooling, therefore, in the heating mode of a home, its efficiency drops along with the ambient temperature.
  • Modern eco-friendly refrigerant is also not suitable for frost.
  • It is difficult for the compressor to work in cold weather - the lubricant becomes too dense.

Many split systems have automatic switching of the “cold” - “heat” modes, regularly switching to the room cooling mode (with the general “warm” mode), but without the fan working inside the building. This is done to heat the radiator in the external unit of the system so that it does not become covered with ice from condensate and does not lose the ability to efficiently exchange heat.

Split systems also have an unpleasant chance of freezing the drain hose. Water turning into ice forms a plug inside the hose. Further flow of water from the air conditioner will occur no longer on the street, but in the room.

After getting acquainted with the whole variety of types of this climate technology, it will be much easier for you choose air conditioning to fit your needs. Of course, at the same time, it is worth starting from the type of room that will need to be cooled, as well as from financial opportunities.

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