Help! How Does A Refrigerator Work?

Have you ever wondered how the refrigerator works? How it manages to cool all the stuff stored inside?

Here is a look at the working principles of a fridge and its components. This is how a standard refrigerator works – in simple English.


The working of any fridge is a cyclic process that consists of changes in both the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant. Below are the different components of a domestic fridge and its functions.

  • Evaporator

Also known as the heat exchanger, the evaporator absorbs the heat inside the fridge but with the evaporating liquid refrigerant’s assistance. It also draws heat passing through it.


  • Compressor

Compressor fridgeThis is a heavy metal object located at the back of your refrigerator, in the bottom area. The compressor is powered by an electric motor (it’s one of the main power consuming parts of the fridge) and works by compressing the refrigerant. This causes a rise in pressure and turns the temperature of the refrigerant gas.

  • Refrigerant

This gas flows through all the internal parts of your fridge. It’s simply the one that ensures the cooling effect.Refrigerant

  • Condenser

This is the thin coil of copper tubing at the back of your fridge. It usually condenses any vaporized refrigerant (by converting it into liquid form) and reduces its temperature.Condenser

  • Heat exchanging pipes

Heat exchanging pipesPresent on both the outside and the inside of your refrigerator, the heat exchanging pipe’s primary function is to carry the refrigerant from one part of your appliance to the other. Most of these coils can be found behind the compressor.

  • Expansion Valve/ Capillary

The expansion valve is the thin copper coil, and its function is to reduce pressure on the liquid refrigerant.Expansion Valve Capillary

Process of How a Refrigerator Works While It Is Running

How a Refrigerator WorksFirst, the refrigerant gas is compressed, thereby increasing both the pressure and temperature.

The gas then passes via the heat-exchanging coils and cause a cooling effect.

Next, the refrigerant passes via the condenser and gets converted into liquid form since the temperatures keep reducing while the pressure is not affected. It then passes through the expansion valve, causing a decrease in the pressure of the refrigerant gas.

Then, the gas expands and evaporates, resulting in a sudden reduction of temperature.

During the evaporation period, the gas is usually present in the evaporator and absorbs the heat from the food inside your fridge, thereby cooling it.

The cooling effect is what prevents bacteria from infesting your food and keeps it fresh longer.

Finally, the refrigerant gas heats-up to its gaseous state, and the cycle repeats.


Regardless of the model or the manufacturer of your refrigerator, your refrigerator will always work on two basic principles:

  1. As the gas expands, the temperature lowers.
  2. Where 2 different surfaces with different temperatures get in contact, the colder surface warms up while the warm one cools.

Having all these in mind, to enjoy fresh and well-preserved food, you should invest in a refrigerator that was built using the highest quality materials available.

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