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Re: Heat Pumps...?

On Mon, 3 Feb 1997, Dwight K. Souder wrote:

Greetings everyone! I have a question that I'm hoping some
people may help me out with. At the high school I teach, one of the
school tutors came to me to ask a question about air conditioning/heating
for one of the general science students. The diagram and explanation
they use in the book I think may not be accurate. It's kind of hard to
explain a diagram over the internet, but I'll give it a shot.
The diagram looks like a cut-away of a window air-conditioner.
The description I'll try to explain is for summer cooling. From the
compressor, the freon travels through the tubes in the back where a fan
blows over them and the diagram show that the freon is "hot". It then
goes through a condensor (?) and through a capillary tube. From the
capillary tube, the tube gets larger and passes in front of the
air-conditioner (the part inside of the house) where the freon is a gas.
Air is circulated over the tubes and the tubes return back to the
Personally, I think this is backwards. It was my understanding
that the freon from the compressor is compressed into a liquid, where it
releases its heat energy to the outside. The freon is then circulated to
the front where it picks up heat energy and the freon goes from a liquid
into a gas. The gas is then brought into the back and is compressed in
the capillary tube and back into the compressor where it releases a large
amount of heat energy.
Can anyone help? Can anyone explain steb by step how a heat pump
works and what goes on in an air-conditioner/heater? What happens when
an air-conditioner is put into reverse and becomes a heater?
Any help would be very much appreciated.


I am certainly no expert on this, but I will give it a try. The majority
of the cooling almost certainly occurs when the freon changes from a
liquid to a gas--heat of vaporization. So, when the freon goes through
some sort of nozzle and expands into a larger tube it should be inside the
house and with the inside fan blowing on the tubes and fins.

W. Barlow Newbolt 540-463-8881 (telephone)
108 Parmly Hall 540-463-8884 (fax)
Washington and Lee University
Lexington, Virginia 24450

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the
zero adjust on his bathroom scale"
Arthur C. Clarke