How Does A Car’s Air Conditioning System Works?
Despite all the luxury features in the cars these days, there’s one which supersedes them all by a large margin. That feature is one of the most basic ones, the car’s Air Conditioning System.
Most countries around the world undergo various different heat waves or hot temperature once in a year, and for a place like the Middle East, where the temperature regularly crosses to more than 50⁰C or nears it, a car ride without AC can be pretty unimaginable making the car’s air conditioning system a must have for people.
Ever since its inception and inclusion in the cars, AC systems have become a common norm and our relief from the burning heat around us. A lot of times, the only reasons we are able to travel by cars are because we have ACs to keep the car cool in all kinds of weather and save us from being cooked by the Sun’s heat.
A boon for all the people who travel by car and otherwise, not many people know about a car’s air conditioning system works.
Let’s start with talking about how an Air conditioning system works in a car!
Air Conditioning has two primary purposes:
- Removes unnecessary moisture from the air within the car to make the insides less sticky from sweat and hence, add on to the comfort level of a person.
- Cool the air entering the car’s passenger compartment.
Furthermore, it even helps in the winter/rainy season by defrosting the accumulation of mist from the windshield while driving so the driver doesn’t have to compromise on the driving. It does this by pulling all the humidity from the car’s windshield which auto contributes to improved visibility.
How does the car’s air conditioning system work?
Air conditioning systems usually operate in a similar fashion but there can be a slight difference based on the manufacturer to manufacturer. All the air conditioning systems have these common components:
- Orifice tube or Expansion valve
- Receiver, drier, or accumulator
The car’s air conditioning system has to be pressurized by a gas that’s known as the refrigerant. Every vehicle has specifications about how much refrigerant is needed to fill the system for working proficiently and is usually around 1-2 litres in most passenger vehicles.
Now’s let’s see how the car’s air conditioning system works in terms of its components.
- The compressor compresses the refrigerant, changing it from a gaseous state to a fluid state. Since this happens under high pressure, this is known as the high side.
- Post compressor’s work, the next procedure in line occurs in the car’s condenser. The refrigerant flows through a grid that is similar to a radiator(Radiator is used to cool the car’s engine). Air passes through the air conditioning system’s condenser and heat is removed from the refrigerant.
- The refrigerant then goes on further into the expansion valve, also known as the orifice tube. A restriction in the tube or a valve reduces the total pressure in the line. This leads to the refrigerant returning to a gaseous state again.
- After turning into a gas, the refrigerant enters the accumulator or receiver drier. Within, a desiccant in the accumulator works to remove the moisture that’s carried in along with the refrigerant in the gaseous form.
- After the accumulator, the cooler, drier refrigerant goes through the evaporator, with refrigerant still being in a gaseous form. The evaporator of the air conditioning system is actually in the car’s passenger compartment. Air gets blown through the evaporator core with the heat being removed from the air. The heat is then transferred to the refrigerant and hence, leaves the cooler air, which exits past the evaporator.
- The refrigerant cycles through the car’s compressor’s again, with the whole process continuing repeatedly.
Over the time, if the effectiveness of the car’s air conditioning system starts diminishing, check the car’s cabin air filter checked/replaced. Also, in areas where AC is used every year, and even otherwise, it is a good practice to get the refrigerant gas refilled.
Make sure the vents are clean of dust and something isn’t hampering the flow of cool air.