What are the Different Types of Refrigeration Hardware?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
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Woman posing

There are four main types of refrigeration hardware that comes standard on most refrigerator units. These are the evaporator, compressor, condenser, and an expansion device called the TX valve. Generally, there is also some sort of refrigerant liquid which flows around the entire system.

Refrigeration is very important for most people, from keeping homes and buildings cool to maintaining the proper temperature for sensitive food items. This system is far more efficient than more primitive cooling systems, such as the original ice box which required a large block of ice to be effective. Although a fairly simple system is used for cooling most units, there are several parts which are used to ensure it runs smoothly.

The evaporator is the first type of refrigeration hardware. This component works by allowing the coolant to flow into the evaporator, where it cools a stretch of copper tubing with fins attached to each side. As the fins and tubing cool, fans blow in the direction of the fins to cool the surrounding air. When this happens, the rapidly cooled fins remove warm air from their surroundings. This heat is then absorbed by the liquid coolant. The liquid, in turn, becomes a gas.

Refrigeration hardware also includes the compressor, which is responsible for getting the heat-laden gas ready to be converted back into a liquid. It does this by electrically compressing the gas while also pushing it further along the system’s loop. This makes the gas even hotter, before it is moved along into the condenser.

At the condenser, the gas is turned back into a liquid. This is done in almost exactly the reverse of how the evaporator turns liquid into a gas. The condenser also has a fin and tubing system, but instead of the gas drawing air from the atmosphere, the atmosphere pulls hot air from the heated coolant. This allows the gas to condense back into liquid form by lowering the temperature considerably.

As the liquid exits the condenser, it enters another type of refrigeration hardware known as the TX valve. This component helps to further cool the liquid by forcing it to pass through a restricted flow line of tubing. By allowing this to happen, the highly pressurized liquid becomes less pressurized, resulting in an extreme decline in temperature. Once this is done, the liquid then returns to the evaporator where the system starts all over again.

Each piece of refrigeration hardware is dependent on the others, thus making each piece vital for the system to maintain function. This concept is used in most types of refrigeration units, both industrial and in the refrigerators most consumers have in their homes. Since it is such a basic system, most refrigeration units can be easily fixed by replacing faulty parts with new ones.

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