September 29, 2014

We all know that an air conditioner helps to keep your home cool during the warmer months of the year, yet do you know any more about your air conditioner than that? How does your air conditioning system work?

No matter what type of AC system you have in your home, all of them use five basic components towards one purpose: to take the heat out of your home and replace it with cool air.

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

In order 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

First, the AC compressor uses pressure to propel refrigerant into the other components of your AC. The refrigerant is brought into the AC compressor with a lower amount of 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 it can be easily used by the other components.

AC Condenser

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. The purpose of this is to prepare the refrigerant to move on to the expansion valve and continue the process of converting the warm air that came out of your home, into cool air that will return back into your home.

Expansion Valve

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

Evaporator Coil

Fourth is the evaporator coil. The cooled liquid fed from the expansion valve interacts with the warm air in your home. While the evaporator coils heat up 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 home through air vents.


The fifth, and most important component, that allows your AC to convert warm air to cool air is the refrigerant. 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 it running on a consistent cycle.

Understanding how your air conditioner works can help you troubleshoot problems, malfunctions and even ways to prolong its lifespan. We cover those tips here. If you need a new air conditioning unit installed, please contact The Cooling Company to learn about the units available today at (702) 567-0707.

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