How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

Air conditioners are used to remove heat and humidity from the indoor air, which they then send outside in order to cool your house. The air conditioner’s different components must work together in order to complete this process. It is also important to remember that a home’s cooling can be achieved by a variety of systems, that all work in the same way.

Let’s go into the details, so you can fully understand how your air conditioner works and pick one that suits your needs. These experts in AC maintenance in Port St Lucie, FL offer a great service if you are looking to repair or service your unit.

What are central air and split systems?

There are two main kinds of air conditioners: ducted central air conditioners and ductless split air conditioners. In spite of working together to cool your home, the two systems function very differently.

Cooling your entire home is the purpose of central air conditioners. To achieve this, they distribute cool air throughout your home through ducts. The outdoor and indoor parts of a central air conditioner are connected by copper tubes unless it’s a packaged air conditioner located entirely outside the home.

Types of Air Conditioners

The type of air conditioner that is right for your home can be determined by understanding the different types.

Central Air Conditioner

In the same way that central air conditioners do, central heating and cooling systems feed air throughout your house via ductwork. One of the most common types of air conditioners has both an indoor and an outdoor unit. The indoor portion of these units can be hidden in an unused area of a basement or crawlspace.

Packaged Air Conditioner

Other types of central air conditioners are packaged air conditioners. In contrast to a 1:1 indoor to an outdoor split system, packaged systems provide air to the entire home. A package system is a two-in-one device, just outside the home.

A central air conditioning unit is a great choice for homeowners who do not have the space to store a large indoor unit.

Dual Fuel System

All your heating and cooling needs can be met with a dual fuel system. During the spring and summer, a dual fuel system doesn’t use an air conditioner but instead consists of a furnace and a heat pump. During the winter, the heat pump provides the heating and the furnace provides the cooling.

A heat pump is capable of both heating and cooling, so it can switch between functions, depending on what is needed. If you live somewhere with changing temperatures, a dual fuel system may be the right choice for you. Dual fuel systems are best suited for mild to extremely cold climates.

Window Air Conditioner

A window air conditioner is, as the name suggests, a home air conditioner that is placed in a window. Air conditioners like these cool one room in your home, similar to a ductless AC system. These units are usually installed half inside and half outside, similar to central air conditioning units. They’re noisy and unattractive to look at, but installing and maintaining window air conditioners is inexpensive and relatively simple.

Components of Air Conditioners

Components of Air Conditioners

Let’s take a look at the components of air conditioners now that you know about all the different types.


Thermostats control HVAC systems and send signals when air conditioners need to be turned on. Electronic and electromechanical thermostats are available. Electronic thermostats use a sensor to measure temperature, while electromechanical thermostats use a metal strip and mercury to turn on the air conditioner.


It is essential that you have refrigerant in your air conditioner – without it, you will not be able to run it. Compounds flowing through your air conditioner absorb and release heat at different stages to cool your home. Air is blown into your air conditioner by a fan, and the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air inside the evaporator coil.

Evaporator Coil

Heat is absorbed by the evaporator coil. Cool liquid refrigerant in the evaporator coils absorbs the heat from the air completely when the fan blows hot air into them from your home. The cool refrigerant continues to cool the air through the air conditioner.


The refrigerant travels to the compressor after absorbing heat in the evaporator coil. By increasing the pressure of the now hot refrigerant, the temperature of the refrigerant increases even more, to the point that it is hotter than the outside temperature. Refrigerant turns into gas when it enters the compressor. The gaseous refrigerant can dissipate heat outdoors once the temperature of the outside air exceeds the temperature of the gaseous refrigerant.

Condenser Coil

This hot, pressurized refrigerant is pumped into the condenser coil by the compressor. Heat is carried outside by the refrigerant through the condenser coil. Cooling the refrigerant down transforms it back into a liquid that can absorb more heat from your home.

Expansion Valve

It is still too hot for the refrigerant to re-enter the evaporator coil after it leaves the condenser coil, even though it has released most of its heat to the outside. Accordingly, when the expansion valve is closed, the refrigerant is cooled even more by releasing pressure. In the evaporator coil, the refrigerant picks up more heat from the inside air and then returns to the expansion valve.


How Does Central Air Conditioning Work?

The central air conditioner circulates air inside your home until the desired temperature is reached. The central air conditioning system draws hot air from your house, releases its heat outside, and then distributes the newly-cooled air through a system of ducts. This makes it easy to set proper temperatures throughout your house.

How Does Ductless Air Conditioning Work?

Cooling only one room – rather than the entire house via a network of ducts – is possible with a ductless air conditioner. The ductless system requires at least one indoor unit and one outdoor unit, as we mentioned earlier. Using ductless air conditioning, you can cool more than one room at the same time with up to five indoor units working simultaneously.

Does an air conditioner take in air from the outside?

No. The air conditioner removes heat and humidity from the air in your home, distributes it outside, and returns the newly cooled air to the home. Your air conditioner does not bring outside air into the house. Their primary function is to cool down the already-cooled air in your house.

Can an air conditioner improve the air quality indoors?

The quality of air can be improved by air conditioners. Dust, lint, and debris are filtered from the air after it is absorbed from heat and humidity inside your home. The heat is removed from your home, but the air that remains and enters your home is cleaner than before, resulting in an improved quality of air.

Thank you for reading!

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