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The Anatomy of an Air conditioner

The Anatomy of an Air conditioner

1st September 2022

Air conditioners are now more commonly seen at work, home, and even when we're out and about, making them more of a need than a luxury in our life.

However, unless you're an engineer or a scientifically inclined individual, it's possible that you haven't given their operation any thought. When you turn on an air conditioner, a room instantly becomes cooler or warmer, right?

Understanding the fundamentals of your appliance's operation will let you make simple tweaks to the settings that can save operating expenses.

Let's start with some anatomy.

There's a lot more to an air conditioning system than what you may imagine—not it's just a clean box on the wall (or in your attic) with a unit outside. Every air conditioner has the same essential parts, regardless of the kind (ducted, multi-split, or split system) that we're discussing. Below, we've divided these down so you can see what each one is for.


In your indoor unit, this is essentially a coil that has refrigerant running through it. In cooling mode, your indoor unit continuously pulls hot air into the room, passes it over these cooling evaporator coils, and blows it back into the space at a significantly lower temperature. The refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat.


So, what happens to the heat collected inside? As for how it gets to the compressor in the outdoor unit, it moves through tubes. The compressor's primary function is to turn low-pressure refrigerant gas into high-pressure refrigerant gas so that the heat may be released outdoors.


This is a second coil that’s located in the outdoor unit, which receives hot, compressed refrigerant gas. With the help of a second fan, it then expels this heat into the external atmosphere, condensing the refrigerant gas into a liquid.

Expansion valve:

The final crucial component of the puzzle. It essentially works to control the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator (starting the cycle again).

What happens when you put the key elements together? The system basically works in a heat exchange cycle. The refrigerant in the unit's coil moves between the indoor and outdoor units, transporting heat from your room to the outdoors. In summer, it keeps the room cool by absorbing the heat inside and releasing it outside. In winter, heat is taken from the outside air and used to heat the house.

The role of the refrigerant:

Refrigerants have been mentioned before because they are fundamental to the air conditioning process, but what makes refrigerants so special? This is mainly because they can easily switch between gas and liquid states. The most common refrigerants today are R-32 and R-410A. Both are hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), but R-32 is the better option because it has a significantly lower global warming potential (GWP). This is what most Daikin air conditioners use. In fact, Daikin was the first company to introduce R-32 in 2012, and to encourage adoption by other manufacturers, Daikin made the R-32 patent freely available to other manufacturers. This reflects Daikin's support for the Kigali Agreement, a global initiative to phase out HCFCs and reduce the environmental impact of air conditioning refrigerants. Today, Daikin units using R-32 refrigerant are sold in over 70 countries around the world.

Remember that humidity is also important.

The amount of water vapour (humidity) in the air plays an important role in heating and cooling. In a humid environment, the human body struggles to cool itself, so air conditioners dehumidify the air as it cools. Air conditioners like Daikin have a built-in feature that balances indoor humidity levels to create a more ideal and comfortable environment.

Some air conditioners can also effectively filter the air. All Daikin split systems incorporate an advanced titanium apatite deodorizing air purification filter, making them sensitive choice certified by the Australian National Asthma Council. Not only do these filters trap most of the fine particles in the air, but they also help break down odours and absorb and deactivate bacteria, so you care about the cleanliness of the air you breathe.

Hot air rises... What do you mean?

A useful scientific principle regarding air conditioning is the fact that hot air rises. As the air warms, it becomes less dense than the surrounding air and floats like a cork on water.

If you are using a split system, place the louvres toward the ceiling when angled in cooling mode, allowing air to naturally fall and cool the entire space. For heating mode in winter, tilt the louvres down to warm the toes before the warm air rises.