How Refrigerator works

Refrigerator is an electronic appliance which preserves the food, vegetables, drinks, beverages, etc. by maintaining them under cold temperatures. In general, it keeps the things cool that doesn’t mean that “If cool down bro doesn’t work for someone who is in anger, put him in a refrigerator”. Refrigerator is really an important invention because in the old times large ice blocks were shipped and sold to the rich people but now every rich and poor owns a refrigerator. But have you ever wondered how refrigerator works.



The main purpose of refrigerator is to keep the food at cool temperatures. Food is prone to bacteria and it just takes few hours to spoil the complete food when kept at room temperatures. Cooling the food slows down the activity of bacteria and keeps the food fresh for a longer time and this idea of cooling is achieved by using Refrigerator.


Refrigerator works on a very basic principle. As we know cooling reduces molecular motion and growth of bacteria which spoils food. So the temperature of food has to be maintained below the room (surrounding) temperatures by removing the unwanted heat from the food and it can be done by continuously passing colder liquid or coolant around the food.

I know you may be wondering about how it works but don’t be concerned I will explain you by giving a very simple example. Let us consider a Desert Cooler, it provides a reasonable cool air when you don’t own an Air Condition. It consists of fan and a motor. The fan sucks in hot air from surroundings and blows out it in the forward direction and motor sucks up the water from the base and pours it on the side panels of the cooler. When the fan starts rotating the hot air come in contact with the side panels of the cooler which has water flowing through it, the hot air looses temperature as the water evaporates heat from the air and makes it cool thus chilled air is blown out from the cooler. The same principle works with Refrigerator.


The main components that make working of Refrigerator possible are
1. Refrigerant
It is the most significant part of any refrigerator. Basically it is a gas, in early days AMMONIA was used as a refrigerant but leakage of this gas can cause damage as it is highly toxic. Freon was then used but later discovered that its heavy usage can cause damage to ozone layer. HFC – 134a is now used in most of the refrigerators

2. Compressor

Refrigerator compressor

Refrigerator compressor

The heart of refrigerator. It usually increases temperature and pressure of a refrigerant. In most of refrigerators it is located at bottom back end of the refrigerator painted with back color as shown in the figure
3. Condenser

Refrigerator Condenser

Refrigerator Condenser

It is nothing but a heat exchanger. The heat absorbed by refrigerant from inside of the refrigerator is high and is exposed to atmosphere by using condenser to release its heat out to the surroundings
4. Expansion valve

Expansion Valve

Expansion Valve

A thin copper tube is used as expansion valve in most of the domestic refrigerators.
5. Evaporator

Refrigerator Evaporator

Refrigerator Evaporator

It is the component that makes the things cool in the refrigerator. It is made up of copper and aluminum tubes. While absorbing the heat, refrigerant evaporates into vapor and takes away heat along the vapors. For example, when a wet hand is subjected to air you sense chilling because the water is evaporating by taking heat out of your hand.



How Refrigerator works – Refrigeration Cycle

The vapors refrigerant which has the temperature below zero boiling points enters into compressor and as we know the compressor increases the pressure of the vapor refrigerant causing it to rise above room temperature. This high-temperature vapor then goes into the condenser which allows it to radiate heat out into the room and the remaining gas is compressed to become a high pressure liquid.

The high pressure liquid goes into the expansion valve which is so tiny and this valve decrease the pressure of the liquid allowing it to expand into a vapor again because of the employethiopia phase change. This vapor is now down to the boiling point and is very cold.

This low temperature refrigerant passes through the coils inside of the refrigerator and absorbs heat from the objects (like food, beverages, etc) inside the refrigerator and starts evaporating by cooling whatever is inside refrigerator. The gas passes back around into the compressor and cycle starts all over again.


1. Ice Refrigeration – In this normal ice is used to keep the things cool. To achieve the refrigeration effect the ice is kept in a closed and insulated chamber. This method is being used to store the medicine, ice creams, etc

2. Dry Ice Refrigeration – This type of refrigeration is used to transport food in aircrafts. Dry ice is converted into vapors to keep the things cool for a longer time.

3. Vapor Compression Cycle – Refrigerators that we use in households, deep freezer, etc are examples of vapor compression cycle.

4. Vapor Absorption Cycle – This type of refrigeration cycle is employed in industries that cool some tones of material. This system requires very low electricity.

5. Gas Refrigeration Cycle – In this type ammonia or Freon are used as refrigerants. This cycle doesn’t perform any phase change which we can see in our household refrigerators


1. Top Freezer Refrigerators

Top Freezer Refrigerators

Top Freezer Refrigerators

As the name itself says the freezer is at the top and refrigerator at the bottom. These are the most common refrigerators and are cheap, hence can be found in almost all the houses.

2. Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

Bottom Freezer Refrigerators

These are similar to Top Freezer Refrigerators but the difference is the Freezer is at the bottom and the Refrigerator is at the top. These are bit expensive when compared to Top freezer refrigerators but still economical.

3. Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

In this the refrigerator and freezer are parallel to each other. It has two doors and each door opens from the middle of the fridge like the cupboard. These are expensive compared to basic fridges.

4. French Door Refrigerators

French Door Refrigerators

French Door Refrigerators

It consists of two doors similar to Side-by-Side Refrigerator but the difference is it has an extra compartment that is a bottom freezer. These are among the most expensive models.

5. Counter Depth Refrigerators

Counter Depth Refrigerators

Counter Depth Refrigerators

The cupboards and cabinets are deep with large space when compared to standard depth Refrigerators.

6. Compact Refrigerators

Compact Refrigerators

Compact Refrigerators

These refrigerators are used in offices, small shops, etc. These kinds of refrigerators are compact and offer with little or no freezing capacity.

7. Freezer Less Refrigerators

Freezer Less Refrigerators

Freezer Less Refrigerators

Refrigerators without freezers are Freezer Less Refrigerators. It consists of only one compartment which is used only for cooling fresh foods.

8. Refrigerator Drawers

Refrigerator Drawers

Refrigerator Drawers

Refrigerated drawers are like drawers or dishwashers and are installed in luxury kitchens. These are expensive and consume a large amount of energy.

9. Wine and Drinks Coolers

Wine and Drinks Coolers

Wine and Drinks Coolers

Also called as cellars and designed especially to keep beverages cools.


1. Capacity – Choose the capacity depending upon the usage and considering the size of the household. An adult uses at least 4 to 6 cubic feet of space.

2. Look and Finish – There are variety of Refrigerators available in the market. Choose the one with your preferred color and finish. If you are with refreshing taste then they are also some available with changing front panels without replacing the entire Refrigerator.

3. Features – They are range of features available like LCD displays, web access, water and ice dispensers, etc. Choose the one that best suits your style.

4. Energy Efficiency – while choosing the Refrigerator you can also make some contribution towards environment. Don’t buy a fridge which is more than your needs. Check the Energy Star ratings before buying as it uses 15 percent less energy than required.

Hope you like the article if yes please give us a positive feedback with your comments.


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