Difference Between Refrigeration and Air Conditioning


Main Difference

The main difference between Refrigeration and Air Conditioning is that Refrigeration uses gas installed tubes, whereas Air Conditioning uses the built-in-chemicals system.

Refrigeration vs. Air Conditioning

Refrigeration use gas Chloro fluorocarbon that is also known as CFC. It harms humanity. The air conditioning process uses chemicals or air form the room. In the refrigeration process, thermal energy is transfer to low temperature against the flow of heat. The process of air conditioning is used to cool large areas or rooms. Refrigeration cools food and preserves it. Air conditioning cools space, place, people, and other living things.

The process of refrigeration means to maintain the low temperature of food and to bring the temperature below the heat of the surroundings. The air conditioning method not only lowers the temperature but also keeps the air velocity and purifies or cleans the air. The refrigeration process is related to maintaining the temperature by air. The air conditioning process related to regulating the humidity, purity as well as regulates the temperature.


During refrigeration, cold air kept inside the refrigerator. During air conditioning, cold air threw outside the air conditioner. Compressor, condenser, and evaporator are all set in one to deice for refrigeration. For air conditioning condenser and compressor are kept separate. The refrigeration system must have a feature of de-icing, and the heat exchanger doesn’t clog with ice. The air conditioning system doesn’t have an element of de-icing.

In refrigeration, thermal energy is transferred only from one place to another. In air conditioning, thermal energy pushes away from the area that you kept cooler. The refrigeration system starts to drop the temperature even below 33-34 F. Air conditioning system stops at roundabout 33-34F temperature. Method of refrigeration designs for the temperature of below freezing. Air conditioning method designs just for thermostat probe and starts to drop the temperature when it reaches to freezing point.


Comparison Chart

RefrigerationAir Conditioning
Refrigeration is the procedure to make cold stuff, space, or structure to lower and keep its temperature under the conditions one.Air conditioning is the procedure of take-out temperature and humidity from the inside of the space required to mend the ease of occupiers.
Based On
Gas tubes basedChemical-based
Temperature Range
Much lower from 40C to -200CNormal or bearable temperature range
No concern with humidityConcern with humidity
Air Circulation
No requirement of air circulationRequire proper air circulation

What is Refrigeration?

The process of refrigeration refers to the intake of thermal energy from one place and transfers it to another place with an increase in temperature. However, refrigeration is a process of flow of thermal energy from a place of higher temperature to a place of lower temperature. Refrigeration works against the heat flow; hence it requires energy to process. The refrigeration procedure is used for the device refrigerators to keep the food preserve at low temperatures. A fluid used in refrigeration is known as “refrigerant,” which becomes expand and compress during the cycle.

Refrigeration is a cooling process or lowering the temperature of a substance or a system and regulates its temperature below the ambient one. Although the heat removed is rejected at a high temperature. In refrigeration, heat transfer mechanically with the help of various means, e.g., electricity, magnetism or laser, etc. Many household applications are run on refrigeration principles are freezers, refrigerators, etc. Refrigeration has a significant influence on agriculture, lifestyle, industry, and resolution patterns.

Refrigeration technology evolved in the last century, from refrigerators to De-freezer. The ancestor of the history of artificial refrigeration is a Scottish professor, “Sir William Cullen.” In 1755 he was the first scientist who designed a small refrigerating machine in which he used diethyl ether, a small amount of ice, and a vacuum pump to absorb the heat from the surroundings.

In 1805 Oliver Evans presented a vapor-compression refrigeration system to produce ice. In 1820 Michael Faraday, an English scientist works on liquefaction of gases by using high pressure and low voltage. During 1834 Jacob Perkins works on the refrigeration system. Refrigeration works on the principle of Clausius’s statement, i.e., “It is impossible to use a heat pump which transfers it from lower to a higher temperature without using any energy or external work.”

What is Air Conditioning?

Air conditioning is also a type of refrigeration but slightly different. In air conditioning, air thermal air pushed away from the vehicle or room. Air conditioning refers to filter and purifies air continuously clean dust particles from the air and remove all unpleasant odors by using an enzyme, mechanical air filters, and biofilters, etc. It also cools down or can maintain room temperature. The air conditioning system requires a certain circulation of fresh air (20.9% oxygen). In the absence of fresh air in the room after some time in the room’s atmosphere, oxygen will be depleted into carbon dioxide. It is unsafe for humans as well as uncomfortable while inhaling.

Air conditioning is an adequately controlled system of ventilation and humidity. However, removing heat, odor, and extra moisture from inside of a room to feel comfortable is known as “air conditioning.” This process used for domestic usage and as well as for commercial scale. Mainly such a process is achieved by humans for a more natural, luxury lifestyle and comfy environment.

The air conditioning system is also used for the rooms that are filled with electronic appliances like computers, ups batteries, generator and power amplifiers, etc. to maintain their room temperature that becomes rise due to such heat up appliances. The air conditioning system is used in different fields like industrial, medical, domestic, and food processing, etc. The air conditioning process simultaneously controls the temperature in summer about 22-240C and humidity 40-50, and in winter 20-220C or humidity, the requirement is 40. It also controls pollution, microorganisms, and dust.

Key Differences

  1. The refrigeration process mainly used to preserve food, whereas the air conditioning process used to cool down the temperature.
  2. In the refrigeration process, the gas tubes system operated; on the other hand, the chemical method operated in an air conditioning method.
  3. De-ice function is only exhibited by the refrigeration process comparatively to air conditioning.
  4. Refrigeration is operating with a small volume of air conversely air conditioning operating with a large volume of air.
  5. Refrigeration lowers the temperature of about -20 to 40C, contrarily the air conditioning temperature range is about 16 to 250
  6. Refrigeration cools down a small volume of space on the flip side air conditioning cools comparatively large volume of space.
  7. Air conditioning maintains the environment, humidity, or purity while refrigeration is just for lowers down the temperature.
  8. The temperature range of the refrigeration system is high as compared to the temperature range of air conditioning.
  9. During refrigeration, thermal energy is transferred from one place to another with high temperature inversely during air conditioning; thermal energy pushes away.


The method of refrigeration implements to cool small space and air conditioning procedures to cool ample space.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson