The car is one of the most luxurious conveniences modern inventions have granted us. You can move from point A to B at your leisure. Even if you are taking a cab, a bus, or a train, you are still enjoying ease that people who lived centuries ago did not. One of the many features of a car that makes it so great is an air conditioning system.
Have you ever wondered how the car powers it? Does your car AC use gas? The short answer to this question is yes. Like other features of your car, the air conditioner works with gas. The engine powers the alternator, which, in turn, supplies energy to the air conditioner. Without gas or fuel, the engine cannot work, which is how the system powers the AC.
How Does a Car AC Work?
For the most part, car air conditioning systems work the same across different brands and models. Like household air conditioners, car ACs use refrigerants or freon, which are high-pressure gas, to run and cool the cars. The refrigerant in the car air conditioning system starts from the compressor and works its way around before cycling back to the compressor.
In the compressor, the refrigerant compresses and changes from gas to liquid. That way, it can flow from the compressor, through the cooling lines, and to other system parts. From the compressor, it flows to the condenser coils, where the heat in it dissipates into the atmosphere. Afterward, the condenser pushes the refrigerant out and through to the expansion valve.
In the expansion valve, also called the orifice tube, the refrigerant turns to gas again. Next, the expansion valve or orifice pushes it to the accumulator or drier. The accumulator or drier, also called a receiver, absorbs all the moisture from the high-pressure gas before transferring it to the evaporator coils. The evaporator draws heat out of the air flowing through its core, and the refrigerant absorbs the heat, leaving the air cold. That is how you feel cold air flowing in your car.
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How Can Running Car AC Be Fuel-efficient?
If you did not know it before now, running your car’s air conditioner conserves your fuel more than leaving the windows down. This is more true if you are speeding. Your car’s engine consumes more fuel when the windows are open because of the excessive aerodynamic drag. The drag will cause the engine to work extra hard to keep the car moving, and in the process, it uses more fuel.
Therefore, consider using the AC more often if you have a car, especially when you are on a highway and are speeding with a higher gear. It will help you save fuel or gas and keep the air conditioning system from damage. If you do not run it often, its many parts may malfunction. However, remember that using the AC when you are not speeding may consume fuel. When a car is idling and runs the air conditioner, it uses more gas to run. It is best to avoid keeping the car idling for longer than a minute. If you are going to stay in the car for a long time, turn the engine off and keep the windows down.
Ways to Conserve More Gas While Running Your Car Air Conditioner
Can your car AC be fuel-efficient? If you follow the proper steps, your car’s AC system does not have to use as much gas as you previously believed. If you maintain higher speeds on a higher gear and close your car windows while at it, your gas mileage drops.
Other ways to conserve gas while using the car’s air conditioning system are:
Slowly Come to a Stop
Braking roughly or suddenly sucks up fuel or gas, with or without the AC. Bring your car slowly to a stop instead of engaging the brake suddenly to improve fuel economy.
Reduce the Load
Another way to improve fuel economy is to travel as light as possible. It is different if you have to carry some load but discard those you do not need. It keeps your car fuel-efficient.
Use Sun Reflectors
The reflectors will keep your car running efficiently, especially if you use the car’s air conditioning system.
Use the Correct Tire Pressure
There is a certain correct pressure your car must maintain to work as it should. The wrong pressure will stress the engine as it tries to keep the car functional. Your mechanic is in the best position to adjust the pressure if it is wrong.
Avoid Cheap Engine Oil
As with other engines, a car’s engine needs good quality oil to keep it running as it should. Cheap engine oil will damage the engine and other parts that the engine powers over time.
The air conditioner draws energy from the engine, as do many other parts. Therefore, you can keep this in your mind to know better about fuel conservation. There are ways to conserve the gas in your car whether or not you are using the AC system. Correct tire pressure, good engine oil, not braking suddenly, and keeping the load light are some ways to try. Lastly, service your car as regularly as possible to keep it in top shape.