A Beginner’s Guide To Understanding How Refrigeration Works
Refrigerators use a gas, known as refrigerant, to remove heat from the air and transfer it to the cooler surroundings outside. Understanding how it works is key to refrigerator maintenance and repair.
The compressor is a crucial part of how refrigerators operate. It compresses the refrigerant gas and then transports it to the condenser coils on the exterior of the fridge, where it comes in contact with a cooler air temperature and changes back into a liquid refrigerant. The vaporized refrigerant absorbs heat from inside the refrigerator, cooling the air and the contents of the fridge. Once it exits the evaporator coils, the refrigerant gas is re-compressed again by the compressor and the cycle starts all over again.
The condenser is a coiled tube made of copper with external fins that helps to cool down the refrigerant. The condenser works by cooling down the refrigerant gas that is produced by the compressor. This gas then changes into a liquid, and the condenser cools it down again. This cycle continues until the refrigerant reverts back to its original state. If you are having trouble with your cooler or freezer, the first place to check is your condenser. Make sure that it is in good working condition and has no cracks or leaks in it.
The evaporator absorbs heat and converts it into a cool, liquid refrigerant that flows to the condenser coil outside. The refrigerant enters the evaporator as a 80 percent liquid and 20 percent vapor. The compressor and metering device make it denser, which allows the evaporator to stay at a low temperature that will absorb heat. The evaporator also uses a capillary tube to reduce the pressure of the liquid refrigerant. This process is similar to how aerosol cans work.
The expansion device regulates the flow of liquid refrigerant in your evaporator and keeps pressure within your system at an optimum level. Expansion devices reduce the pressure of refrigerant before directing it to the evaporator, which prevents liquid from being carried over to the compressor and causing damage. They also keep the pressure difference between the condenser (high pressure) and evaporator (low pressure) maintained, which allows for a better refrigerant liquefaction cycle. There are many different types of expansion devices, including capillary tubes and metering valves. However, the most common and inexpensive is the capillary tube.
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