Comparison: Air Conditioner and Refrigerator

Air conditioner and refrigerator
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Refrigerator and air conditioner are common used household appliances. They bring us convenience for daily lives. But we also lack a basic understanding of them, so let’s learn some knowledge about them today.

Does refrigerator have the same refrigeration principle as air conditioner?

The answer is Yes.

The refrigeration principle of air conditioner and refrigerator is exactly the same, which called “vapor compression refrigeration”.

The vapor compression refrigeration system is mainly composed of compressor, condenser, capillary tube, and evaporator, which connected each other by pipes to form a sealed system.

Compressor compresses the gaseous refrigerant into a high-temperature & high-pressure gaseous state then sends it to the condenser for cooling. After cooling, it becomes the medium-temperature & high-pressure liquid refrigerant then enters the drying bottle for filtration and dehumidification.

The liquid refrigerant depressurizes the low-temperature & low-pressure gas-liquid mixture (more liquid) through the expansion valve (throttling component) then passes through the evaporator to absorb the heat in the air and vaporize( turning into a gaseous state), finally returning to the compressor to continue compressing, circulation for cooling.

The evaporator of refrigerator is located in the freezing or refrigerating room; the compressor, condenser, and capillary tube are located outside.
The evaporator of air conditioner is located at the indoor unit; and the compressor, condenser, and capillary tube are located at the outdoor unit.

See the video  about”vapor compression refrigeration”

What is the difference between an air conditioner compressor and a refrigerator compressor?

Working method of the refrigerator compressor and the air conditioner compressor is the same, but the input power is different because they require different cooling capacities.

Air conditioner compressor generally uses rotary compressors (high temperature or medium temperature compressor), the advantage is when the temperature is greater than 7°C, the refrigeration efficiency is higher and fast.

Air conditioner compressor

Refrigerator compressor is a low-temperature piston compressor. They are generally used in low-temperature environments such as refrigerator and cold storage. Whose refrigeration speed is slower under high-temperature conditions.

Refrigerator compressor

Both compressors can distinguish from the shape: most refrigerator compressors are round, with 3 external pipes, most of the input power is below 200W, using a 220V power supply, connected with external capacitors.

A few are horizontal, with higher input power, but not more than 300W.

The air-conditioning compressor with cooling capacity of more than 9000W adopts a scroll compressor, and also has a liquid return-bag & two external pipes, with a voltage of both 220V and 380V options.

Can put refrigerator and air conditioner together?

Yes you can, but had better place them separately, otherwise it will affect the heat exchange effect of the air conditioner. And the air conditioner input power is bigger, so it requires a higher current socket, and best not share a socket with the refrigerator.

What’s the result of putting a refrigerator and an air conditioner together?

1. Increase the power consumption of air conditioner

The working refrigerator compressor will produce heat, which will be released into the air.

If the air conditioner also installed in the same room, will need more heat exchange, so the power consumption will be higher, meanwhile temperature decreasing will become slower.

2. Affect the refrigerator performance

As a large indoor temperature difference when the air conditioner switched on or not, the refrigerator compressor may be in a non-stop working state, which will also affect the refrigerator life span.

Can the refrigerator and air conditioner share the same socket?

Better not!

Because the input power of air conditioner is high (means large current), if plus the refrigerator’s current, the socket will be short circuit.

Had better separate the refrigerator and the air conditioner at a distance of 1-2 meters if you have to place the refrigerator and air conditioner together, and use separate sockets for them.

Meanwhile, don’t place the refrigerator closer to the air outlet of an air conditioner to avoid affecting the cooling performance of the refrigerator.

Another way: place the air conditioner in the bedroom and the refrigerator in the living room.

Pay attention to leaving some distance between the refrigerator and the wall to dissipate heat.

Open the door of the refrigerator in summer, can it be used as an air conditioner?

Can’t, and the indoor temperature will be higher.

Simply how refrigerator works

The working principle of refrigerator is the same as air conditioner. They are all “heat porters”. Compressor runs, and the refrigerant passes through the evaporation and condensation function to achieve heat exchange.

After opening the refrigerator door can’t reduce the heat of the room at all.

Meanwhile, as the electrical energy consumed by the refrigerator during the operation was eventually converted into heat energy and released into the room, the heat energy in the room will increase, resulting in an increase of the indoor temperature.

Difference Between Air Conditioner and Refrigerator

Different heat-dissipating places

Air conditioner discharges the cold air (produced by the circulation system) into the room and discharges the heat (generated in the cooling process) to the outside, which can ensure the room temperature is lower than outside.

A refrigerator is an all-in-one machine. It only ensures the internal temperature is lower, and the temperature outside the refrigerator is not affected, so the refrigerator will directly dissipate the temperature to the outside of the refrigerator, that is, indoors.

AC working no good

Refrigerator only has cooling function, air conditioner can be cooling and heating

Refrigerator used to store food and divided into two modes: refrigeration and freezing.

Difference: The freezing temperature set at minus 18-20°C, which can achieve the effect of quick freezing. For example, fish needs to place for a long time can quickly reach a very low temperature, so as to meet the requirements of preservation without destroying the quality.

The refrigeration temperature is 4-8°C, which can keep the inside temperature at this level all the time. The refrigeration is mainly used for preservation, and because the temperature is not very low, it still has a risk of bacteria breeding, so you need cleaning and disinfecting it regularly.

Air conditioner used to reduce the indoor temperature in summer. The indoor temperature can set at 16-30°C. You can adjust the indoor temperature according to the different outdoor temperatures. Generally, the indoor temperature set 5-10 °C lower than the outdoor temperature; In winter, it can heat the room warm and comfortable.

Refrigerator has an insulation layer, air conditioner doesn’t have

When the refrigerator works, the “heat” moved from the inside of the refrigerator to the outside. Because the temperature inside the refrigerator is lower, the heat will re-enter the refrigerator from the outside, causing the refrigerator compressor moving the heat to outside repeatedly.

The main function of the refrigerator insulation layer is to isolate heat and prevent the outside heat entering the refrigerator, avoiding the cold air from dissipating.

Therefore, a good quality insulation layer can reduce the number of times the refrigerator switching on, so as to achieve the purpose of saving electricity.

Air conditioner needn’t have an insulation layer, just close the room door and windows, switch on the air conditioner to achieve the effect of cooling or heating.

Different refrigerants and compressors

Compressor: Since the refrigerator temperature difference (45°C: room temperature and refrigerator inside temperature) is greater than that of the air conditioner (20°C: air inlet and outlet), refrigerator generally uses a piston compressor which can provide a higher compression ratio and temperature difference, and the energy efficiency is also lower (COP=2, 1 kWh of electricity produces 2 kWh of cooling capacity); In contrast, air conditioner normally uses rotary compressor, and the energy efficiency ratio is also higher than that of refrigerator (COP=3~4, 1 kWh of electricity produces 3-4 kWh of cooling).

Refrigerant:  Air conditioner uses R22/R410A/R32/R290 for excellent performance (notice: R22 refrigerant is forbidden in many countries and areas nowadays), but can’t work in very low temperatures ( less than -10°C).

Refrigerators use R134a/R600 refrigerant normally.

Circulating system is different

Circulating system of the refrigerator keeps the cold air in the enclosed space (inside the refrigerator) to achieve the effect of cooling and storing food, but the cold or hot air (generated by the air conditioning cooling/heating function) used to release to the inside room.


Different energy consumption

Take a 1hp (hp means horsepower) split air conditioner as an example. The output power is about 750w, which is 0.75 kWh per hour. If working 8 hours per day, it consumes 6 kWh of electricity.

For a refrigerator, the normal capacity is about 300L, and the power consumption per day is only 1.2-1.5 kWh, much smaller than an air conditioner.

What’s more, the air conditioners used in the living room or bedroom mostly is larger than 1hp, so at least each air conditioner consumes 10°C per day.

Different application

Refrigerator is mainly for domestic use (keeping food or other items in a constant low-temperature state), industrial storage of frozen food (maintaining constant low temperature and preventing spoilage).

Mainly use air conditioner in enclosed public places such as households, commercial buildings, apartments, stadiums, etc. Or large vehicles, such as buses, trains, planes, etc.

Refrigerator special use

1. Prolong the lifespan of stockings

Don’t unpack the newly bought stockings, and put them directly to freeze for 1-2 days.

After taking it out for 12hrs then putting it on, the temperature changes can increase the toughness of the stockings, and rarely damage the stockings.

2. Remove the gum

When the chewing gum is accidentally stuck to the object, you can freeze it together with the stuck object in the refrigerator.

After 1 hour, the chewing gum will become brittle and hard. Then take it out and gently use your fingernail to peel the gum off.

3. Remove the spicy taste

Put spices (onion, garlic, etc) in the refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting, then it won’t stimulate your eyes.

4. Kill book borers

Collected books will grow worms. Wrap the books in film plastic bags and put them in the frozen room of the refrigerator for 12 hours, and the worms will all freeze to death.

If the book is soaked in water, it’s easier to wrinkle and turn yellow even dried again.

Method: Smooth the wet book and put it in the refrigerator frozen room, after two days take it out, it will recover.

5. Prevent blistering after burnt

Immediately stick the burnt body into the refrigerator to relieve pain and avoid blistering.

6. Guarantee the tea quality

Tea, cigarettes, and medicines stored in the refrigerator will not deteriorate for 18 months.

Green Tea

7. Keep fish fresh in the refrigerator

Keeping fish in a fruit tray box in the refrigerator can keep them alive for several days without changing the water.

8. Beer ice cubes

Pouring beer, red wine, and brandy into the icebox to make solid ice wine cubes, which have a unique flavor.

9. Put the birthday candles in the refrigerator to cool for 24 hours, and then insert them on the cake so that the wax oil will not stain the cake.

10. The absorption effect will be better after the Facial mask is frozen in the refrigerator.

Frozen facial mask


Well, air conditioner has same cooling principle as refrigeraotr, but they have different features on heat-dissipating places, both cooling and heating function, insulation layer, refrigerant & compressor, circulating system, energy consumption, and application.

We hope you can learn much knowledge than that from above, refrigarator and air conditioner are partner can comfort your life, more knowledge about them means more comfortable and convenient for your daily life.

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