How a Room Air Conditioner Operates

A room air conditioner is a small enclosed cooling device that is able to be mounted in a window or through a wall for venting and for air exchange. Recently, there has also been an introduction of portable air conditioning units, which are housed in cases that sit on the floor near a window with a tube for venting. These portable units usually have casters mounted to the bottom of the case allowing them to easily move from one room to another as needed.

The purpose of air conditioning equipment for a room is to cool the air within a small, confined area and they are not intended to be used as a "whole house" air conditioning system. They are most often used in houses or apartments where people are renters; therefore, they are not permanently installed and can be removed and taken to a new location if the occupant moves.

Typically, a room air conditioner will have a control panel mounted somewhere on the front or on top, in order to give the user easy access to the controls. Generally, there are independent controls for setting the target room temperature and for controlling the fan speed for circulating the conditioned air around the room.

Most people are not aware that room air conditioning units do not "technically" cool a room. It is more correct to say that room air conditioners remove the heat from the air and then moves it elsewhere to where the unit has been vented.

A pressurized refrigerant, R-22, flows through the air conditioner unit when it is turned on. While the unit is on, the condenser will pull the refrigerant gas into the air conditioning system and then pressurize it, which raises the temperature of the gas. This heated, high-pressure gas travels next to the condenser coils, which are located on the outdoor portion of the unit where the fans distribute the heat that has collected.

The cooled gas then becomes condensed into a liquid, which moves to the interior part of the room air conditioner to the evaporator coils. At this point, these coils can absorb the heat that is in the room. The fan then moves the air throughout the unit. The thermostat controls the cycling of this process to maintain the desired temperature in the room.

Some room air conditioners have mechanical controls, such as knobs and push buttons. The newer air conditioning units are controlled with electronic touch-pads that tend to provide more functionality and can regulate the mode the units operate in, the temperature set point, a timer for automatic shut off and powering on, and various other conveniences, most of which are designed to make the unit as energy efficient as possible.

In order to help consumers choose the best room air conditioner unit, small air conditioners are rated for their energy efficiency level by EnergyStar.gov, which is a service of the U.S. Dept. of Energy. The Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) is the cooling capacity of the unit, in terms of BTUs divided by watts of electrical power used by the unit. To have an Energy Star rating, a unit has to have an EER that is 10 percent higher than similar models.

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Here's my states requirements: "Applicant must have one or more of the following conditions: unable to walk 200 feet without stopping to rest; unable to walk without assistance from another person or from a brace, cane, crutch, wheelchair or other prosthetic or assistive device; lung disease with forced respiratory, expiratory volume for one second, if measured by spirometry, is less than one liter, or the arterial oxygen tension is less than 60 mm/hg on room air at rest; uses portable oxygen; cardiac condition with Class 3 or 4 functional limitations as by American Heart Association standards; or severely limited in ability to walk due to an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition."6. how difficult would it be to remove a room air conditioner that was put into a wall space?CHeck the unit. sometimes it can be able to slide out easily7. The most efficient way to heat a room? Air conditioner or electric resistance heater?"Air conditioning the outside", is what a heat pump is. Although, keep in mind, that the physical equipment of an air conditioner will not really be designed to do this efficiently and safely, compared to an actual heat pump that is designed to work both ways. You usually need a lot more air filtration on the interior air stream, and an air conditioner's outdoor heat exchanger does not have this. Worst case scenario, a heat pump operates at the same efficiency of an electric heater, with a COP (coefficient of performance) of unity. That is to say, as much electricity as is consumed, becomes the heat put in to heating the room. COP is similar to efficiency, in that it is what we want divided by what we pay for. It differs from efficiency, because efficiency usually refers to quantities where "what we want" comes out of the system, and "what we pay for" goes in to the system, and all of "what we want" must come from "what we pay for". The idea of COP is that it is a more generalized concept of efficiency. Most heat pumps will be better than that, because what they do is suck heat out of the cold background and "blow" it in to the room. More heat enters the room than is sucked out of the background, because all of the work energy that was used to operate the compressor "joins it". Heat pumps are not as common as you would think, because it is usually a better idea to just burn the original fuel where you plan on using it. Ultimately, the electricity that operates a heat pump, will come from a fuel burning power plant, and that also has a heat rejection component to it. You might as well take advantage of that too. That is why, depending on relative prices of fuel and electrical energy, it is common to have a combustion method of heating, and a heat pump method of cooling, with the heat pump method of cooling exclusively designed for refrigeration. If electricity is particularly cheap in your region, that is when you might want to consider a heat pump instead of a fuel burning furnace. And this ends up being the case, if you live in an isolated region, that is difficult to which to drive a tank of propane, or to run a gas pipe. Electricity is usually the most efficient method for transporting energy long distances, so if the consumption of a more ordered energy source pays for itself in saved transport costs, it can be an advantage to use a heat pump instead of a furnace.
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