How Does An Air Conditioner Work?

Most residential and commercial properties have some form of HVAC system installed and the basic principle of all of them is the same- the heat from one area is replaced with cold air while the former gets expelled from that space; typically to the outdoor atmosphere.

ACs and refrigerators function in the same way. While the latter cools the insulated space within the refrigerator, an air conditioning unit cools rooms, the entire house or even a residential or commercial structure. An air conditioner uses chemicals which easily get converted from a gaseous state to a liquid state and back in to the gaseous state. This chemical transfers heat from the indoor air into the outdoor air.

There are different types of air conditioning systems:

    Central Air Conditioners Heat Pumps Evaporative Coolers Room Air Conditioners Ductless Mini-Split ACs State of the Art Cooling

Air conditioner- the working

The ambient air gets pulled over the condenser that contains the refrigerant gas. As the air moves across the system, there are 3 main stages in the working:

    • The evaporator holds the sub-cooled


    • The air then blows right through the network of veins and releases the cooled, dry air into the indoor spaces. The condenser hold the high-temperature gas, which moves through the network of veins, collects the heat as it moves through and then gets expelled in the outdoor air. The system contains a chemical


    •  that absorbs all the heat and then pumps it through a network of pipes to the coil that’s positioned outdoors. The fan is located in the outdoor unit and it blows the outdoor air all over the hot coil; this transfers the heat the


     contains, to the outdoor environment.

The components of an air conditioner

Most replacement AC systems have 5 components:

    • The condenser A


    •  Evaporator coil The blower The chemical


A central air conditioning unit functions via a split unit; these systems have the condensing unit which is the hot side (this includes the compressor, condensing coil and the fan). This entire unit is installed in the outdoor spaces of your home.

The other unit which is the cold side is positioned in the indoor spaces of your home. This unit is made up of the cold coil and the expansion valve; this is typically a part of an air handler like a furnace. It blows air right through the evaporator coil that cools the air. The cold air then gets circulated across all the spaces in your home via a network of ducting.

Functioning of a window AC

If you have a window unit, that too functions on the same principle. The only difference is that this system doesn’t have a split system and the hot and cold sides are located in a single window unit and housed within one unit.

    • The thermostat controls the


    • , which is the core of the AC system.  The


    • ’s pumping motion causes the


    •  to easily flow right through the system. It draws in the


    • , which is a low-pressure and low-temperature gaseous state substance. When this gas gets compressed, it raises the


    • ’s temperature. This high-temperature, high-pressure gas eventually flows into the

condenser coil

    • . This coil is made up of a network of pipes that has a fan, which pulls in the outdoor air across the coiling. When the


    •  passes through this coil and the cooler air from the outdoors moves through the coil, the heat from the


    •  gets absorbed by the air. This condenses the


    •  and turns it from a gaseous state to a liquid state. From this point, the high-temperature, high-pressure liquid finally reaches the expansion valve. The network of pipes that connects to an air–handler or furnace is the

evaporator coil

    • . The air handler blows the indoor air all across this coil due to which it begins absorbing heat from the air. This cooled air then gets delivered into the house via the ducting. Post this, the


    •  flows into the


    . This cycle continues over & over & over until the indoor spaces reach the desired temperature. When the thermostat senses that the indoor temperature has reached the correct setting it turns- off the air conditioner. When the room starts to warm up, the thermostat then turns the AC back on till the room/s reaches the set temperature.

Air Conditioner Filters

The one way to ensure that your AC unit work efficiently and in a consistent manner is to ensure that its filters are either regularly replaced or cleaned.  If the filters are dirty or clogged, they will block the normal airflow and significantly impact the efficiency of the system.

When the normal airflow gets obstructed, the air which moves past the filter can get into the evaporator coil and the dirt can affect the heat-absorbing capacity of the coil. The air-conditioning system’s filters are positioned somewhere along the length of the return duct. They are commonly located in furnaces, ceilings, walls or in the AC unit itself.

Types of filters

Some air conditioning units have reusable filters while others just have to be replaced when there is too much dirt and debris trapped in them. These are also available in a number of efficiencies and types. If you want your AC system to function well, you should either replace or clean the filters at least every 1-2 months in the cooling season.

While this is the thumb rule, in case the Ac unit sees heavy use, or if it has to operate in very dusty conditions, or if you have furry pets in the house, the filter would have to be cleaned more often. If your system uses disposable type filters, it’s a good idea to keep multiple spares in your house.

When you are buying a wholesale air conditioner, you would have to take a number of aspects into account. The type of AC system you choose will be dependent on the location and size of the space to be cooled and a number of other conditions.