How Does Air Conditioning Work? An Explanation With H.T.R.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

How AC Works

Now that summer is right around the corner, it’s almost time to switch from heating to air conditioning. Since we’ve had air conditioning since 1902 it’s easy to just take our hard-working systems for granted. It is important to understand the air conditioner your home has and the basics of how it works so not only can you use it effectively but also give it the proper care it needs so you’ll never be stuck in the heat! So what are the types and how do they work?

How Does An Air Conditioning
System Work?

The point of an air conditioner is to reduce the air temperature in a room. To accomplish these air conditioners work similarly to refrigerators. Both want to keep cold air in and hot air out, to do that they use refrigerant compounds. In an air conditioner, fans move hot air over refrigerant-filled coils. This cools the air and the air is then returned to the room. 


How does your specific air conditioner work? It’s best to clarify that there are two main types of major air conditioning systems: central and split. There are more types as well but these are the two main systems being focused on today. The biggest difference between cental and split is where all the important parts, such as the evaporator, condenser, and compressor, are kept. Where these air conditioners and their components are placed will greatly affect how they function. 

What Is The Central Air
Conditioning System?

Central air conditioning systems, or packaged air conditioners, hold all these parts in one cabinet. One unit, usually on the roof or outside on the pavement, houses the evaporator, coil, blower fan, compressor, and condensing coil. This system utilizes the ductwork in your home, just like your heating does. The how air is pulled out of a room through the return air ducts and into the evaporator. The air is cooled and returns to the room via the supply air ducts. The condenser coil takes that heat and releases it outside. While often regarded as more energy-efficient and great at filtering the air, the drawback is that ductwork will need regular maintenance.  

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Example of a central, aka packaged,  air conditioner.

Mini Ductless Air Conditioner

Example of a split, ductless, air conditioner.

What is a Split System in Air Conditioning?

Split air conditioning systems, or ductless air conditioners, have an indoor and outdoor cabinet. The indoor holds the condenser and compressor. The outdoor cabinet contains the evaporator and sometimes more depending on if your split system doubles as your heating. Rather than ducts, the split system uses pipes to connect the two parts. Refrigerants in the pipes cool the air as it cycles through. To switch to this system is more expensive, but this system is known for being very efficient in cooling large areas quickly. 

Knowing about your air conditioner and how it works is important for the smart homeowner whether that is towards maintenance or purchasing. During the hottest of summer days, nothing is nicer than entering your comfortably cooled home, and your air conditioner is to thank for that. Make sure your taking good care of it so you are never left without your home oasis during the summer. 

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