Introduction – How Does A Car Air Conditioner Work?
In the heat of summer, it can seem like there are no cool places to go. Perhaps the most uncomfortable and sweltering place of all is your car.
With outside temperatures soaring past 100 degrees Fahrenheit, your vehicle quickly becomes an unventilated sauna. With windows up and nothing but a few vents for circulation, you feel like you’ll literally melt in your seat. Luckily, there’s a great solution: an air conditioning system installed in your car. Cars have come a long way over the last few decades.
Once basic and underpowered, today’s luxury models pack as much power as a small house. But while many of us take air conditioning for granted as standard equipment in new cars, it wasn’t always that way…
How Does An Air Conditioner in a Car Work?
An air conditioner removes heat from your vehicle by chilling the air circulating inside. As it passes through the system, the air is cooled by a series of components, including an evaporator, an expansion valve, and a compressor.
The compressor is the heart of the system. It compresses the refrigerant gas inside, raising its pressure and temperature. The gas is then passed through the expansion valve, which lowers its pressure and triggers the gas to change back into a liquid form.
This process removes the heat from the gas, and the refrigerant is passed through the evaporator, where the heat is transferred to the inside of the car. The cooled refrigerant is then sent back to the compressor, where the cycle begins again.
Why is an Air Conditioner Important?
Having an A/C installed in your car is more than just a pleasant convenience; it’s a necessity in many parts of the country. In the United States, air conditioning is the most frequently installed car feature after the engine itself.
Eighty-one percent of Americans live in warmer climates where they’ll be driving with their windows open year-round. The most important thing to remember when choosing a car is to select one with an air conditioner.
Without an A/C, your car is a lot more difficult to drive in the summer. Depending on the outside temperature, you may need to leave your windows closed to avoid excessive heat buildup. Overheated engines are a serious safety risk, and many states have enacted laws requiring owners to keep their windows closed when their car is running.
How Does an Automotive A/C System Work?
An automotive air conditioning system consists of a condenser, an evaporator, a receiver-drier, a compressor, an expansion valve, hoses, and a control unit.
The compressor pressurizes refrigerant gas and sends it to the condenser, where the gas is cooled by contact with the outside air. The cooled gas is then sent to the evaporator, which transfers the heat inside the car to the gas. This chilled gas is sent back to the compressor, where the cycle begins again.
Pros of Having an A/C Installed in Your Car
– The number one advantage of having an A/C installed in your car is the ability to control the temperature inside the cabin. With the windows open, you’re at the mercy of the weather, which is usually not very forgiving in the summer. You may have to contend with insects, bugs, or other debris flying inside your car if you don’t have the windows up. Automotive air conditioning systems make it easier to drive with the windows down, as you’ll be able to control the temperature inside your car.
– The second major advantage of installing an A/C in your car is the ability to dehumidify the space. On really hot days, the inside of your vehicle can become very humid, which can be uncomfortable and even dangerous. A cool, dehumidified car is a much more pleasant place to be in the summer.
Cons of Having an A/C Installed in Your Car
– The cost of installing an air conditioning system in your car is typically higher than installing a roof rack or roof basket because it requires professional installation. Automotive air conditioning systems are typically more complicated than roof racks or roof baskets, so they’re also more expensive.
– The size of the system will likely limit the amount of cargo you can carry in your vehicle. Bigger systems, like those found in larger SUVs or pickup trucks, can take up a lot of space and limit your ability to carry cargo, especially long items that won’t fit behind the front seats.
Where to Install an Automotive Air Conditioning System?
You can install an automotive A/C system just about anywhere in your car. The more space you have, the better, so you’re able to install a larger system. Automotive air conditioning systems are typically split into two categories: small- and large-duct systems.
Small-duct systems can fit in vehicles with tight interiors, like compact sedans, but they’re also less efficient. Smaller systems also require a larger outside air source, which makes them less suitable for areas with poor air quality, like downtown areas.
Large-duct systems are better for vehicles with larger interiors, like SUVs, minivans, and pickups. They’re also more efficient, and they don’t require as large a source of outside air.
Cars have come a long way over the last few decades. Once basic and underpowered, today’s luxury models pack as much power as a small house. But while many of us take air conditioning for granted as standard equipment in new cars, it wasn’t always that way.
Automotive air conditioning systems are designed to remove heat from your car by chilling the air circulating inside. An air conditioner is the one car feature that every driver should have, especially in the summer.