Post a job

How do air conditioners work?

19th Nov '21 • By Shreya Kulkarni

We all use air conditioners in our houses, cars and even offices. But how many of us actually know how an air conditioning system works. This article provides a technical overview of air conditioners and their workings

Air conditioners provide comfort during hot and sweaty seasons. It removes the heat and humidity in the air and maintains a cool and fresh feeling inside your home. One fact about air conditioners is that they function the same as refrigerators, but they do not make it ice. If you don’t have an AC, look for a local air conditioning service to help you install an air conditioner in your home efficiently.

Article Overview

  • How does air conditioning work?
  • What are the different types of air conditioners?
  • What are the components of air conditioners?

How does air conditioning work?

An air conditioning works by removing warm air from the inside of your home and blowing it outside. Then, it will blow the cool air back into the room and reduce the temperature. The air conditioner works exactly like the refrigerator, and the heat absorbed inside the room is released. The step by step process of how the air conditioner works are as follows:

  • The first thing that happens is the warm air of the room is drawn into the system.
  • The air that is drawn into the system goes through the cold evaporators pipe inside the air conditioner. The pipe cools down the air, and the dehumidifier inside removes the excess moisture.
  • There is a coolant blowing through the chiller pipes that absorbs heat from the air blowing from the evaporator, turning it from a warm liquid into a cool gas.
  • The warm air is pumped outward while the coolant will flow through a compressor unit and a condenser, which turns it again into a cool liquid.
  • The cold air is then released into the room. It will circulate in the area and reduce the temperature and humidity.

What are the different types of air conditioners?

There are different types of air conditioners. It is important to gain knowledge about each type so that you can choose wisely what is right for your home. Suppose you have already figured out the kind of air conditioner perfect for your home, ask for free aircon installation quotes to install your aircon efficiently.

If you are wondering how much a professional aircon installation costs, it costs around $600 to $6000, depending on the size of the aircon and the complexity of the installation.

Central Air Conditioner

Central air conditioners usually feed air via ductwork and release it in your home. Central air conditioners are one of the most common types of air conditioners, and it has an outdoor and indoor unit. This unit of an air conditioner is best for homes with a basement and crawlspace because the indoor portion of this unit can be tucked away in an unused space.

Packaged Air conditioner

The packaged air conditioner is another type of central air conditioner with a system that can cool the entire home but does not have a feature of a one is to one indoor to outdoor unit split. Packaged air conditioners are two-in-one aircon unit that is primarily located outside the home. A packaged air conditioner is the best option for homeowners who want to have a central air conditioning system but do not have enough indoor space for the aircon unit.

Dual Fuel System

Dual Fuel System is an all in an all-in-one system for your cooling and even heating needs. It uses a heat pump and a furnace instead of an air conditioner. You can use the heat pump to cool your place during spring and summer, and you can use its furnace feature to keep you warm during the cold seasons. The dual-fuel system can switch its function depending on what you need for a season. If you are residing in a place where the season is changing too fast, the dual-fuel system is the best option for you.

Ductless Mini-Split

Ductless Mini-Split is the best choice if you want to cool only one room in your home. For this kind of air conditioner, there is one outdoor unit connected to the indoor unit, and all the cool air will be pumped and released into that one room where the indoor unit is connected. Ductless Mini-Split is best for people sharing one room, such as a dormitory or a condominium for sharing.

Ductless Multi-Split

A ductless multi-split air conditioner works the same as the mini-split, but without the one is to one ratio. Multi-splits work for up to one is to five ratios, which means that one outdoor unit of this air conditioner can cool up to five rooms with five different indoor units. For this system, you need five individual ductless units to maximize its use. Surprisingly, this system costs lesser than the central cooling system and is more energy-efficient. The multi-splits is best for homes with multiple rooms but does not have ductwork.

Window Air Conditioner

Window air conditioners are literally air conditioners installed in the windows of your home. These are air conditioning units that work the same as the ductless air conditioner, and it also cools only one room in a home. The installation of this unit is the same as that of the central air conditioner, which has one indoor and another unit outdoor. The window air conditioner creates a noisy sound and a not so appealing look, but it is the easiest unit to install and has low maintenance.

What are the components of an air conditioner?

Aside from knowing the different types of air conditioners, it is also important to familiarize yourself with the main components of air conditioners to understand how they work.

  1. Thermostat

A thermostat can be electronic or electromagnetic, and it sends signals to the HVAC system when you turn on the air conditioner, and it is time for cooling. The electronic thermostats have sensors that detect and read the temperature. In contrast, electromagnetic thermostats have metal strips and mercury tips that signal the air conditioner that it is already time to cool.

  1. Refrigerant

The whole air conditioning system will not work without the refrigerant. It is where the chemical cooling compound flow, which absorbs and release heat at varying stages to keep your home cool. The cooling starts when the fan blows the heated air from your home going into the air conditioner. The refrigerant absorbs the heat in the evaporator coil.

  1. Evaporator Coil

The evaporator coil is the place where the heat is absorbed. When the air conditioner fan blows in the air from your home, it goes through the evaporator coil, then it goes to the cool liquid refrigerant where the heat is absorbed, and then it goes through the conditioner for cooling.

  1. Compressor

After going through the refrigerant, the air goes to the compressor, increasing the pressure on the now-hot refrigerant. While the air is in the compressor, it becomes hotter than the temperature of the room outside. Once the refrigerant reaches a higher temperature than the room temperature, it can blow the heat outwards.

  1. Condenser Coil

The air from the compressor goes to the condenser coil, and the condenser blows the hot air outward so the air conditioner can provide the cool air inside your home. The condenser turns the refrigerant back into a liquid and makes it ready to absorb heat.

  1. Expansion Valve

After releasing the hot air outside your home, the refrigerant is still too hot before it enters the evaporation coil. So, the expansion valve decreases the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant. Then it sends back the cold refrigerant to further absorb hot air from your room and allow the cold air to circulate in the area.


Get free quotes in minutes.

Get quotes from our qualified and licensed tradies Australia wide.


Posted under