How An Air Conditioner Works – a Basic Tutorial

We all enjoy our air conditioners in the summertime. Having the peace of mind that you have a reliable unit to keep you cool when it’s hot outside is a luxury we often take for granted. However, it is important to understand how your AC system works so you can keep it in proper working condition.


Home Comfort Experts offers a simplified version of how your air conditioner works to help you understand and appreciate this amazing piece of equipment.

What Are the Components of an Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner works in a way that is very similar to the way that a refrigerator works. It transfers heat from inside the home to the outside. It is made up of several components that all work together to keep a home cool. The working parts of an air conditioner are:

  • Evaporator Coils
  • Blower Motor
  • Condenser Coils
  • Compressor
  • Fan
  • Filter
  • Thermostat

Now, we are going to break down each component and how they operate in your air conditioning system. This photo from the website helps to illustrate the individual parts.

Evaporator Coils and Blower Motors

The evaporator coils play a crucial role in the cooling process of an air conditioner. They are responsible for removing humidity and heat from the air. The coils contain a refrigerant that undergoes a phase change from a liquid to a gas as it absorbs heat from the indoor air.

The blower motor circulates the warm indoor air over the chilled evaporator coils, causing the refrigerant to absorb the heat and moisture from the air. As a result, the air is cooled and dehumidified before being released back into the room.

Condenser Coils and Fan

The condenser coils are located in the air conditioner’s outdoor unit. They work hand-in-hand with the compressor to release the heat absorbed by the evaporator coils. A fan blows outdoor air over the condenser coils, aiding in the heat dissipation process.

As the refrigerant releases the heat absorbed from the indoor air, it changes from a gas to a liquid. The condenser coils facilitate this heat transfer, allowing the refrigerant to cool down and prepare for the next cycle.

Air Filters

The air filter is an essential component of an air conditioner, primarily found in the indoor unit. Its purpose is to remove airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens, from the circulating air.

The filter traps these particles, preventing them from entering the cooling system and being redistributed back into the room. By keeping the air clean, the filter helps improve indoor air quality and ensures a healthier environment for the occupants.


The compressor is a pump that moves the refrigerant between the condenser coils and evaporator coils. This helps keep the air inside of the home cool.

AC Thermostat

A thermostat is a tool that regulates the amount of cool air that the air conditioner distributes. Lowering the temperature will increase the amount of cool air that is distributed. Likewise, raising the thermostat temperature will decrease the amount of cool air distributed. However, severely lowering the temperature on a thermostat will not make your air conditioner cool your home any faster.

How Does An Air Conditioner Provide Cool Air in My Home?

An air conditioner cools your home by using a simple and effective process. It works like a refrigerator, but it cools the air in your entire home instead of cooling a small space. The air conditioner has a part called an evaporator coil that is inside your house, usually connected to the furnace. This coil contains a special liquid called refrigerant that can absorb heat from the air.

When warm air from your home passes over the evaporator coil, the refrigerant absorbs the heat, making the air cooler. The cooled air is then blown back into your home through ducts and vents while the heat absorbed by the refrigerant is sent outside. This process repeats until your home reaches the desired cool temperature, creating a comfortable and refreshing environment for you and your family.

Get Help With Your Air Conditioner

Keep in mind that there are several different types of air conditioners, including central air conditioners, room air conditioners, ductless mini-split air conditioners, and evaporative coolers. Every type of air conditioner has its advantages and disadvantages.

Our expert technicians at Home Comfort Experts are dedicated to performing all air conditioner services, including installlation, repairs, and maintenance. Contact us today at (574) 319-9241 and let us know how we can assist you.

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