How Does a Freezer Work in Comparison to a Fridge?


Quick Answer

A freezer and fridge work the same way by using a refrigerant to move heat from inside the unit to the outside. In combination units, air from the freezer is used to cool the refrigerator compartment.

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How Does a Freezer Work in Comparison to a Fridge?
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Full Answer

In order to create the cold temperatures inside a freezer, a refrigerant is cycled repeatedly through a system where it changes state from gas to liquid and back again. To begin the cycle, a compressor pressurizes the refrigerant in its gaseous state. Compressing the gas causes the temperature to rise. It is then run through a condenser coil where the heat is transferred to the outside air, and the gas condenses to a liquid.

The liquid, which is still under high pressure, is sent through an expansion valve. The expansion valve lowers the pressure of the liquid, and it begins to change back into a gas and drop in temperature. The refrigerant is then routed through evaporator coils in the freezer. As it passes through the evaporator coils, the refrigerant continues to change into a gas absorbing the heat from air circulated through the coils by a fan. From the evaporator coils, the refrigerant, which is now a gas, returns to the condenser to start the cycle again.

A refrigerator without a freezer works in a similar fashion, while a refrigerator with a freezer uses cold air from the freezer to cool the refrigerator compartment.

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