Refrigeration Cycle Explained

The refrigeration cycle is a major component of HVAC systems. The refrigeration cycle help in absorbing or releasing heat. In order to understand the refrigeration cycle, we need to understand its components.

The Major Components

The refrigeration cycle has four major components:

  • Compressor: This component is the part that is usually thought as the engine of the refrigeration cycle. Its job is to take the refrigerant through the system. It compresses low pressure, low temperature refrigerant vapor into high pressure, high temperature refrigerant vapor.
  • Condenser: This component cools the refrigerant and turns it into a liquid. The condenser rejects the heat that the refrigerant picked from the compression.
  • Metering device: This component meters the sub-cooled liquid into the evaporator. The metering device serves as a separation between the high pressure and low pressure.
  • Evaporator: This component boils the refrigerant flowing through it so that the air that goes to the space is cooled down. When the refrigerant enter the evaporator, the temperature and pressure are reduced. All of the liquid is boiled in the evaporator, any heat after boiling is known as superheat. The compressor then takes the superheat vapor and does the process again from the beginning.

Understanding the Cycle

The four components working together make the cycle. First, the refrigerant absorbs the heat when it is in the evaporator; and then it is expelled from the refrigerant to the outdoor air in the condenser. At the same time, the metering device and the compressor allow us to control the pressure of the refrigerant. Working together as one, the four components make the cycle possible.

Major Points

  • The compressor moves the refrigerant around the system.
  • The condenser discards heat and makes sure the refrigerant leaving is liquid.
  • The metering device lowers the temperature and pressure as it regulates the refrigerant into the evaporator.
  • The evaporator boils the remaining refrigerant by absorbing heat.
  • The refrigerant picks up superheat. The superheat vapor then moves into the suction line and back to the compressor, repeating the cycle.

Additional Components

  • Pressure Switches
  • Low Pressure Switch
  • High Pressure Switch
  • Liquid Line Solenoid Valve
  • Receiver
  • Liquid Line Filter Drier
  • Liquid Line Sight Glass

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