Why Cooling Capacity Unit Of Home Refrigerator And Air Conditioner Is different

We often wonder why the capacity of a domestic refrigerator and Air Conditioner (AC) are so different though both are refrigeration system. In this blog topic we shall discuss some of the key differences between the two.

So what is the main difference with respect to the cooling capacity?

A major difference between the two is the point of supply for the gases. Refrigerator has gases installed in a series of tubes. In old ones, the gas was CFC, but since it has harmful effects on people, so refrigerators do not contain them anymore. HFC-134a is the sole gas used as a coolant in refrigeration systems. AC systems use built-in chemicals, but also air from the room. In built gases in an air conditioning unit cools air that circulates through the unit; the unit next redistributes the cooled air in the room.

ACs have circulation systems created to project cool air away from the units while refrigeration units have circulation systems designed to retain the coolant in a confined space. Refrigerators circulate cool liquids and gases through a series of tubes and vents. Cool air from within a refrigerator is taken into a compressor that recycles the gas through the tubes. ACs, while employing tubes in the coolant system, has fans for air dispersal. Unlike refrigerators, that keep gases contained to a pre-determined space, ACs disperse cool air throughout areas of unknown volume.

The capacity of domestic refrigerator is generally rated in ‘Litre’.Thus, litre capacity indicates the volume or space to be cooled by the domestic refrigerator.

On the other hand, the AC capacity is given by the term ‘Ton of refrigeration’. Now ton is actually a name given to the amount of heat to be extracted from 1 short ton (907.18474 kg) of water at 0 degree C to convert it to the ice at the same temperature in 24 hours.

In simple words, refrigeration rate required freezing 1 ton of water to ice in 24 hours at 0 degrees C. 

Thus, 1 Ton of refrigeration = 1 TR = (latent heat of ice)x(amount of water)/time 

= 334 x 907.18474 /(24 x 3600)

= 3.50 kW

Hence it is clear that the refrigeration system has a different capacity term viz. ‘Litre’ (Space to be cooled) and ‘Ton’ (energy to be removed for cooling)

Hope you liked this discussion.

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