How An Air Conditioner Works: 11 Things You Need To Know

Have you ever thought to yourself, how do air conditioners work? Well, you’re not the only one and in this article we’ll tell you the 11 things you need to know about how an air conditioner works. Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’ve been in your home for years, the more you understand about how an air conditioner works, the better off you’ll be. We’ve broken your Air Conditioning system down into 3 main parts; The Outdoor Unit… also know as the condensing unit, The Indoor Unit…it’s where ever your furnace is and the Living Space…that’s everywhere else in the house. But we’ll continue our conversation outside. Even though looks and styles differ between brands and models, this is more or less how your system will look and basically how an air conditioner works to cool your home. Now this is in no way meant to be a comprehensive technical video to go over all the ins and outs and intricate components of how your air conditioner system works but rather an easy to understand video for the average person.

Now at the Outdoor Unit you have your
(1) FAN,
(2) CONDENSER COILS,
(3) COMPRESSOR, and
(4) REFRIGERANT.

The Indoor Unit has the
(5) BLOWER MOTOR,
(6) EVAPORATOR COILS,
(7) CIRCUIT BOARD and the
(8) FILTER. Now, your filter might be on the side or on the top, just look at your furnace and see where it’s at.

In the living space you’ll find the
(9) THERMOSTAT,
(10) SUPPLY VENTS and
(11) RETURN AIR VENTS.

So how do air conditioners work? Well there’s a lot of moving parts and pieces, even more than we’ve got time to show in this article but they all have to be working together in order to get cool air in your home. It all starts when the temperature in the room rises. The thermostat sends a signal to the circuit board calling for cold air. The circuit board then turns on the blower motor in the house while turning the compressor and fan on outside.

The compressor acts like a pump, sending the refrigerant back and forth from the outside condenser coil to the evaporator coil inside. Back and forth, back and forth, each time helping to remove warm, moist air from in the house. Meanwhile, air is circulating in the house. The hot air in the room is drawn through the return air vents and blown across the evaporator coils.

Pay attention because here’s an important step in how an air conditioner works, cold refrigerant is being pumped through lots of little tubes woven through the evaporator coils…remember, that compressor outside. As hot air from the house is blown across the evaporator coils, the heat and moisture are removed and what you’re left with is cold air. The cold air is blown through the ductwork that runs throughout the house and comes out the supply vents. The air warms up and is drawn back in through the return air vents and the process repeats itself again, until the room is cool enough that the thermostat sends a signal to stop…at least until the room heats up again. And that’s how an air conditioner works.

Now these 11 things, they’re designed to work together and if even one of them stops working you could experience a variety of problems, the end result usually being no cold air. And nobody wants that in the middle of the summer. To avoid unexpected breakdowns there’s some simple maintenance you can do, on your own, to help keep your air conditioner running as smooth as possible all summer long. Learn the most common air conditioner problems that homeowners cause themselves…I know you’re doing some of them right now and you don’t even realize it. If you ever do find yourself with an Air Conditioner that isn’t working, be careful how much you attempt on your own. It’s easy to get in over your head and do more damage than good. There are a lot of moving parts and pieces and it’s always good to have a certified HVAC technician that knows what he’s doing come out and take a look at your system. He’ll have all the proper tools and experience to be able to diagnose and fix the problem right the first time.

If you found this articleo about how your Air Conditioner works helpful and informative, go ahead and give us a thumbs up. If there’s other things you’d like to know about how your electrical, plumbing, heating or air conditioning system works around your house, leave your suggestions so that we know what articles you want us to write. Have a great day and thanks for reading!