AC 101: How your air conditioner works

Posting Date: April 10, 2018
Posted by: Leigh Fichter, Phoenix, AZ Branch Manager

You rely on it for much of the year to keep your home comfortable and your indoor air healthy – but do you know how your air conditioner actually works? This week, we’ll explore some A/C basics for you.

Evaporation: the key to your A/C

You might think that your air conditioner works by bringing cold air into your home, but that’s not the case: it actually works by pulling heat out of your home.

How does it manage that trick? By taking advantage of the process of evaporation. Imagine the cool feeling on your skin after you rub alcohol on it: that coolness is the result of the alcohol drawing heat away from your skin as it evaporates (i.e., as it turns from a liquid to a gas). Your air conditioner uses the same principle to cool the air in your home.

The air conditioning process

Your A/C accomplishes its evaporation trick using two coils – an aptly named evaporator coil (which is located inside your house) and a condenser coil (which is located outside your house).
Traveling within and between these coils is refrigerant – a naturally cold chemical (such as Freon) that has the ability to change from a liquid to a gas very quickly, transferring heat in the process (just like the alcohol did in the example above). Passing along the evaporator coil, the refrigerant does its duty, absorbing heat from the air in your home and leaving cooled air behind for redistribution to your house.
Meanwhile, the refrigerant – now a warm gas, thanks to the heat it has drawn from your air – moves along to the outdoor compressor; the compressor squeezes all the heat out of the refrigerant, transforming it back into a liquid. The compressor’s fan expels the heat into the outdoor air (which is why the air coming from your outdoor A/C unit is warm), while the cool liquid is recycled and sent back to perform its heat transfer duties once again.
Of course, the process is a bit more complicated than that – which is why you need a professional when something goes wrong with your home A/C – but that is the basic process that drives just about any modern cooling system, no matter how sophisticated.

For technical know-how on all types of air conditioners – from split systems to central units of all shapes, sizes, and ages – no one beats the pros at Broward. Contact us today for your air conditioner repairs, or to sign up for a high value Broward Service Plan!

0081114 - 0081113 - M-38591 - CA-C056774 - CF-C056867 - TACLB20853E - 0040504 - CA-C057400 - ES-0000336 - 280095 - CA-C056778 - 0046467 - TACLB33262E - TACLB32884E - TACLB50208E - 279402 - 289307

Notice to TX customers: you, the buyer, have other rights and remedies under the Texas deceptive trade practices consumer protection act which are in addition to any remedy which may be available under this contract. For more information concerning your rights, contact the consumer protection division of the attorney general's office, your local district or county attorney or the attorney of your choice. Prices subject to change without notice.

Notice to FL Customers: The rate charged for service agreements is not subject to regulation by the Office of Insurance Regulation. Prices subject to change without notice.

We’ve updated our privacy policy: learn more.