Difference between Air Conditioner and Refrigerator

<p><strong>Refrigerator</strong> and <strong>Air Conditioner</strong> (AC) are both electrical appliances that are used to reduce the temperature of a closed space by transferring the heat of the closed space to another place. Both AC and refrigerator work on the principle of heat-sinks, i.e., these devices transfer the heat from a source (or closed space) to another place called <em>sink</em>.</p><p><img src="https://www.tutorialspoint.com/assets/questions/tmp/figure.png" class="fr-fic fr-dib" width="700" height="200"></p><p>Read through this article to find out how Air Conditioners are different from Refrigerators.</p><h2>What is an Air Conditioner?</h2><p>An Air Conditioner is an electrically operated cooling device which is generally used to cool a large closed space such as a room or a hall. The cooling capacity of an air conditioner is decided by the user’s requirements and the area of space to be cooled.</p><p>Air Conditioners use a technology that alters the state of air. In practice, the air conditioner draws hot air and then cools it by the process of evaporation. In simple words, an air conditioner can be defined as a cooling device which moves the heat from a closed space (or room) to the outside environment.</p><ul class="list"><li><p>An air conditioner is called a <strong>split-system</strong> because it has an indoor unit (called <strong>evaporator</strong>) and an outdoor unit (called condenser) which are connected through a pipe.</p></li><li><p>In order to cool a space by AC, a cooling substance called <strong>refrigerant</strong> is processed.</p></li><li><p>The process of air conditioning involves the four stages, where the air is heated, compressed, condensed and liquefied.</p></li></ul><h2>What is a Refrigerator?</h2><p>A Refrigerator is also an electrically operated cooling device that is used to cool a relatively small closed space which is generally used to preserve the food items and sometimes medicines and injections.</p><ul class="list"><li><p>Basically, a refrigerator is an open cooling system, as it transfers the heat from a closed space to a warmer outside area. To perform refrigeration, the refrigerator uses a liquid which gets converted into gas at very low temperature. The cooling agent used in most refrigerators is <strong>chlorofluorocarbon</strong>. A typical refrigerator consists of a maze of completely sealed interconnected tubes, through which the cooling agent (chlorofluorocarbon) is constantly circulating.</p></li><li><p>In a refrigerator, the chlorofluorocarbon or Freon gas is converted from liquid to gas and vice-versa. The air inside a refrigerator gets heated by the heat of products placed inside the fridge and this heat is radiated through the inner walls and transferred to the Freon containing tubes. The liquid Freon gas absorbs the heat, and turns into gas. At the same time, the temperature of the products such as food, etc. inside the refrigerator falls.</p></li><li><p>An electric motor fitted at the bottom of the refrigerator operates a pump called <strong>compressor</strong> which sucks the heated Freon gas. Here, the Freon gas is compressed and further heated. Then, this heated gas is pushed into the tubes in the rear of the fridge. These pipes become hot from the gas and radiate the heat to the outside environment. After losing the heat, the Freon gas goes back to the liquid state and again pushed into the cooling tubes in the refrigerator walls. This process is constantly repeated over the time.</p></li></ul><h2>Difference between Air Conditioner and Refrigerator</h2><p>The following table highlights the major differences between an air conditioner and a refrigerator.</p><table class="table table-bordered"><thead><tr><th style="text-align: center;">Parameter</th><th style="text-align: center;">Air Conditioner</th><th style="text-align: center;">Refrigerator</th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Definition</td><td>The air conditioner or AC is an electrically operated device which takes the heat away from the place to keep the air cooler inside the place.</td><td>A refrigerator is an electrically operated device which transfers the heat from a place to a place of relatively higher temperature.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Circulation system</td><td>The air conditioner uses a circulation system which is designed to blow out the cool air away from the unit.</td><td>The circulatory system of a refrigerator is designed in such a way that it keeps the cool air within the unit.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Function</td><td>The main function of an air conditioner is to lower the temperature of the air along with maintaining its humidity and purity.</td><td>The function of a refrigerator is to regulate the temperature to cool or freeze.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Number of units</td><td>A typical air conditioner has two units. One is indoor unit called evaporator and the other is outside unit called condenser.</td><td>A refrigerator consists of a single unit for evaporator and condenser.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Air circulation</td><td>Air conditioner requires proper and efficient air circulation.</td><td>Refrigerator does not require air circulation.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Volume of air required for working</td><td>In order to work properly and to provide enough cooling, an air conditioner requires large volume of air.</td><td>A refrigerator requires relatively less volume of air to reach the desired temperature.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Fan</td><td>In case of air conditioner, a fan within the unit is required.</td><td>There is no need of fan within the refrigerator unit.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Task performed</td><td>The air conditioner generally performs the cooling but sometimes it is also used for heating.</td><td>Refrigerator is only used for cooling.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Temperature range</td><td>For air conditioners, the temperature range is between 18 °C to 24 °C.</td><td>The temperature range for refrigerator is varies from 1.7 °C to 4 °C.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Vaporization</td><td>In case of air conditioners, the vaporization takes place through evaporation.</td><td>In a refrigerator, the vaporization occurs through boiling.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Gas supply</td><td>Air conditioners have in built chemicals for the operation of the system.</td><td>In a refrigerator, the gas for the operation is provided through pipes.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">De-icing function</td><td>An air conditioner does not have any de-icing functionality.</td><td>The refrigerator includes a de-icing function.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Power consumption</td><td>An air conditioner consumes relatively more electric power.</td><td>The refrigerator consumes less electricity.</td></tr><tr><td style="vertical-align: middle; text-align: center;">Applications</td><td>Air conditioners are used for cooling of rooms and halls and to maintain the purity and humidity to give comfortability.</td><td>Refrigerators are used to provide cooling for preservation of food items, medicines, injections, etc.</td></tr></tbody></table><h2>Conclusion</h2><p>From the above discussion, we can conclude that both ACs and Refrigerators are used for cooling a region through the vaporization process but it takes place in different ways. Another key difference between an AC and a refrigerator is the fan used within the air conditioner unit to vent out the cool air to a large area (like a hall or large room) which is not present in a refrigerator.</p>