How Your Home Air Conditioning System Works

If you’re starting to sweat and want to get rid of that sunburn, your best option for cooling down is to use your air conditioning system. Often we don’t think about how our cooling system works, we are just grateful it does on a hot summer day. To fully understand your AC systems, learning the different parts and their purpose is helpful. Although the process of the AC unit takes minutes, the more efficient the system is the more savings to you!

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

Much like refrigerators, AC units have one primary function: removing heat and humidity from the air within the home or building. This, in turn, helps us stay more comfortable while inside. The AC aims to improve our comfort level, allowing us to go about our daily routines unimpeded by extreme temperatures.

What Is Central Air?

Central air conditioning is the most common type of home air conditioning system. A central air system has a precise order of events to cool the air and distribute it throughout your home’s ductwork.

How Do Air Conditioners Work?

The air conditioner you use in your home is pretty simple in theory and operation. First, you have a compressor, which compresses the chilled refrigerant gas, sending it through a condenser coil that cools it down even further. Next, the condenser coil is connected to the outside unit of your air conditioner, where it’s cooled by circulating water.

You also have an evaporator coil (similar to the condensing unit coil) with a fan blowing over it. This evaporator coil pulls warm indoor air through its fins to cool it down even more before sending it back into your home. Cool refrigerant gas travels back through the compressor and through the ducts in your home as cold air.

An air conditioner cools down the temperature degrees in your home in the summer by removing heat from the air. The compressor removes the heat and sends it outside through the condenser coil. The cooled air is then returned to the space by a fan or blower wheel, which blows it across the second set of evaporator coils. This causes the water in the coils to evaporate and carry away even more heat.

The refrigerant used in an air conditioner changes from a liquid to a gas as it passes through the system. The refrigerant absorbs heat inside your home and transfers it outside through the condenser coil. Once out, it turns back into a liquid and continues its journey through your system. Once it gets back inside your home again, it starts the cycle all over again.

It would help if you had your air conditioner serviced annually to ensure that everything is working properly and that no leaks have developed anywhere along the line. It’s important to schedule these service visits. They detect any problems that would disrupt this process of cooling air. Even minor fixes can be addressed before they become more serious issues. For example, leaks or damage caused by freezing temperatures during winter months when there isn’t enough moisture in the atmosphere for proper operation of the system can be detected by our HVAC technician.


Your home air conditioning system works by cooling the air inside your home. This is important because it helps keep the room temperature at a comfortable level. But how does it do this? And what does the filter do in the AC unit?

We now know the AC systems take the warm, humid air from inside your home and pump it into an outdoor unit where it is cooled down. The cooled air is then brought back into your house through ductwork, which circulates throughout the house. The filter prevents dirt and other particles from entering the system, which could cause damage and reduce efficiency.

The filter is one of the most important pieces of your air conditioning system. It’s the first line of defense against dust, dirt, and other contaminants that can get stuck in the coils of your unit and decrease its efficiency.

The filter can’t stop everything from getting into your AC unit, but it does an excellent job of keeping out larger particles like hair and lint.

If you’re concerned about allergens or pollen in your home during allergy season, use a high-quality filter to help keep those out!


You know how your home air conditioning system works, right?

If you don’t, don’t worry! Most people don’t! There are a lot of different parts to an air conditioner, and they all work together to ensure you stay cool.

Air flows through the outdoor unit (the part outside your home) and is cooled by a heat exchanger. Then, the cooled air goes into the indoor unit (the part inside your home). Finally, the hot air inside your home is pushed out through vents. That’s all there is to it!


The Different Types of Air Conditioners

There are two types of air conditioners:

  • central unit
  • window unit

Central Units

Central Units are installed on an exterior wall in the home, while window units have their place inside the window frame and are installed inside the window. Central AC systems force air throughout the home. They are more expensive than window units but provide better cooling throughout your home.

Window Units

Window units offer less coverage space than central AC systems but cost much less.

No matter what type of AC system you have in your home, all of them use five basic components: to take the heat out of your home and replace it with cool air. The fact of the matter is, the heating up is what cools down the thermostat level. It’s ironic!

The five integral parts found in all air conditioning units include:

  • The AC compressor
  • The refrigerant
  • The AC condenser
  • The expansion valve
  • The evaporator coil

To explain how air conditioners work, we will go over the various parts of the AC and describe what each component does to replace the heat in your home with cool air.

AC Compressor

The AC compressor is the heart of your home’s air conditioning system. Your home air conditioning system is made up of several components that work together to cool your home. The most important component is the air conditioner compressor. It’s what pumps refrigerant through your system and makes it possible for you to enjoy the comfort of cool air in your home.

The compressor is located in an outdoor unit connected to an indoor unit through ducting. When the compressor turns on, it pulls refrigerant from a low-pressure side of the system and compresses it into a high-pressure side. This compression causes heat to be released into the atmosphere. This is called “heat rejection.” In addition to releasing heat, this process also removes moisture from the air so that you don’t feel damp when you turn on your AC unit.

If there are no leaks or other problems with your HVAC system, this process will continue until the indoor temperature is the desired cool. When this happens, the compressor shuts down until warmer temperatures trigger it again. This is similar to your refrigerator, like when someone opens their fridge door!

First, the AC compressor uses pressure to propel refrigerant into the other components of your AC. Next, the refrigerant is brought into the AC compressor with lower pressure and then propelled to other parts of the AC using higher pressure. This causes the AC compressor to heat up, which allows the pressure to convert the refrigerant into a high vapor so that the other components can easily use it.

AC Condenser

As a homeowner, the AC condenser is another important part of your air conditioning system for you to know about. It’s responsible for taking the heat from your home and transferring it to the outside air. The condenser can be located in your home’s attic or the side of your house. It is sealed to prevent any moisture from getting inside. The condenser has an inner and outer shell, separated by a layer of oil that helps cool the inner shell.

As the coolant passes through the tubes inside the condenser, it absorbs heat from your home and transfers it to the outer shell. As warm air passes over this surface, some of it evaporates into water droplets that are carried away by air movement in your home. Eventually, this water drips onto a pipe connected to a drainpipe outside. Here it can evaporate back into the atmosphere as rain or snowfall.

Once the refrigerant has been converted into a hot vapor by the AC compressor, the vapor moves on to the AC condenser. At the AC condenser, the hot vapor is cooled down by the condenser fan and its coils. The cooling process also converts the refrigerant hot vapor into a hot liquid state. The purpose of this is to prepare the refrigerant to move on to the expansion valve. Here it will continue converting the warm air from your home into cool air that will return through your home’s vents.

Expansion Valve

If you’re still wondering how your home air conditioning system works, starting with the expansion valve is a good idea. The expansion valve is located between the evaporator coil in your home’s ductwork and the compressor. It’s responsible for allowing coolant to flow through when there is pressure and reducing it when there isn’t enough pressure. It is important because if there isn’t enough pressure, it could cause damage to other parts of your system. It can also lead to leaks that can be dangerous for you and your family.

This part of the system also ensures that air doesn’t get too cold when it travels through the evaporator coil. Of course, that would mean you wouldn’t get much comfort out of your unit if it did!

The refrigerant arrives at the expansion valve as a hot liquid. It is converted by low pressure in one of the openings of the expansion valve into a cool mist. Once the fog leaves the expansion valve, it is converted into a low-pressured, cooled liquid through the exit opening.

Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is the part of your air conditioner that cools down the air. It does this by taking in warm air through a vent and cooling it down with water before sending it back into your home. The evaporator coil is made up of coils that are cooled by a fan. The fan is powered by electricity from your home’s electrical system. As the fan pulls warm air from inside your home through the coils, the coils heat up and cool down simultaneously. The heat energy from the air is used to heat water in an external tank to make steam. This steam then flows over the hot coils and causes water droplets to form on them. As these droplets get bigger and heavier over time, they will fall off into a pan below where they can evaporate back into a water vapor instead of getting into your lungs when you breathe in air from outside!

The evaporator coil interacts with the warm air in your home. While the evaporator coils heat the air from inside your home, the cooled liquid and the cooling coils cool the air. Once the air has been cooled, the evaporator coil pushes it into your entire home through air vents.


Refrigerant is a chemical that absorbs heat from the air and transfers it to the condenser coils inside your home’s central air conditioner. The refrigerant contains a heavier gas that’s colder than regular air, which allows it to absorb heat from the air in your home.

The cold refrigerant passes through a compressor, where it’s compressed and turned into a liquid. This increases its density so it can absorb more heat as it passes over the condenser coils.

The liquid refrigerant then goes through an expansion valve, allowing some liquid to evaporate into a gas. The gas absorbs more heat as it travels through your home’s duct system.

When it reaches the evaporator coil in each room, it turns into a liquid when the fan blows across it. This releases all of its heat and cools your entire house!

The refrigerant is the fifth and most important component that allows your AC to convert warm air to cool air. The refrigerant is a special liquid that your AC uses to help keep your home cool. Every component of your AC uses the refrigerant as a vapor or liquid. Extra refrigerant is normally kept in special copper tubes. These copper tubes are connected to all the air conditioner parts to keep them running consistently.

Understanding how your air conditioner works can help you troubleshoot problems. It will help you prolong its lifespan. We covered those tips here. If you need a new air conditioning unit installed in the summer months, don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Cooling Company to learn about the units available today at (702) 567-0707.