image of an air conditioner compressor

The air conditioner helps us feel cool and comfortable when it feels hot inside the house. You only need to push some buttons, wait for several minutes, and you’ll have a cooler home. This excellent technological advancement makes even the hottest days bearable. A cooling system protects us from potentially hazardous heat stroke and lets us sleep comfortably at night. Early civilizations may think it is magical that we can now control our environment, but it is only that the scientific concepts were intelligently applied. But, how does an air conditioner work? Read on to learn all you need to know about how air conditioners operate.

How Does My Air Conditioner Cool My Home?

This article explains how air conditioners keep your home cool during the year’s hottest season.

Air Conditioner Components

Before diving into the cooling process, familiarize yourself first with the different air conditioner parts. We keep it simple for you and discuss the four primary components and what they do in the cooling cycle. They are:

Air Conditioning Refrigerant

image of manometer measuring air conditioner refrigerant pressure

The refrigerant serves as the air conditioner’s lifeblood. This substance carries the heat out of the house and releases it outdoors. The cooling cycle describes how the refrigerant travels across various components and the changes it goes through in its journey.

Cooling System Evaporator Coils

The evaporator coil is the indoor unit’s main component. It absorbs the heat inside the home. The coils should be kept clean at all times to ensure optimal performance. Air filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly as well.

Air Conditioner Condenser Coils

The outdoor unit’s primary part is the condenser coils. It releases the heat from inside the home. These coils tend to get dirty with dirt and debris over time, so they require periodic cleaning. Make sure to book air conditioner maintenance before the summer season.

AC Unit Compressor

This pump helps the refrigerant travel from the evaporator coils to the condenser coils. It functions as the system’s heart.

The Air Conditioner’s Basic Cooling Process

Here is the standard cooling process an air conditioner goes through:

Step 1: Thermostat Sends Signals That Cooling Is Needed

modern programming thermostat for air conditioning unit

The air conditioner might have been turned off after a long day at work so you can save energy. Therefore, it may be hot in your home, so you turn on the system and set your preferred temperature using the thermostat. Its sensors will check the current temperature in the house. If it is higher than your preferred temperature, the thermostat will signal for the cooling cycle to begin. The compressor will start working to make the refrigerant travel throughout the system. The fans will also switch on.

Step 2: The Coolant Absorbs Heat From Indoor Air

The refrigerant first goes to the indoor unit’s evaporator coil. It is quite cold at this point. It will absorb the heat when it encounters hot indoor air. As a result, the air becomes colder while the refrigerant gets warmer. Humid indoor air causes the vapor to turn into water due to the lower temperature. The air conditioner also helps lower the humidity indoors. It is equipped with a tray to accumulate this water and channel it outside so it doesn’t leak into your home and cause damage.

Step 3: Fans Blow Cooler Air Back Inside

air conditioner compressor fans

A fan moves the cold air around the evaporator coils and back to the house. If you have central AC, the cold air goes through the ductwork to reach each room in your home and achieve uniform cooling. A window air conditioner or a split system has fans that blow the cold air directly into the specific room they are installed. If you have a split system, each occupant can control the temperature within their zone, so they get the cooling level they need. It also allows them to switch the indoor unit in their zone off when it’s not needed for reduced energy usage.

Step 4: The Refrigerant Releases Heat It Has Collected Outdoors

The refrigerant has its limits so it can’t continuously absorb heat. The hot refrigerant needs to go to the outdoor unit so that the heat it has collected can be released through the condenser coils. The chemical will keep releasing the heat so long as it is hotter than the outdoor surroundings. It will continue to do so until it reaches an equilibrium.

Step 5: Fans Blow The Hot Air To The Surroundings

Powerful fans blow air to the condenser coils to assist in the refrigerant’s cool-down process. This way, heat is released outside quickly. The environment will get hotter, something you can check when you put your hand near the outdoor unit. The outdoor unit is installed in an open area, allowing the wind to blow the hot air away. The air conditioner allows your home to release indoor heat to the surroundings continuously.

Step 6: The Cold Refrigerant Travels Back To The Indoor Unit

The compressor pumps the refrigerant back into the indoor unit once it gets colder. This way, the cycle can be repeated. The process continues until the thermostat senses that the indoor temperature is the same as the set temperature per the settings you input. It will then stop and rest until the indoor temperature rises again. In this case, the air conditioner automatically restarts the cooling process.


As discussed, air conditioners don’t generate cold air from thin air. It slowly removes the indoor heat until it gets cold inside your home. This clever design has improved its efficacy for many years. Newer air conditioning models continue to push the energy efficiency boundaries, resulting in lower energy consumption and better comfort.

Call Tower Energy For All Of Your HVAC Requirements

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Tower Energy provides high-quality HVAC services in Hartford County, Connecticut. We have the best professionally certified HVAC technicians for all your heating and cooling service needs, such as boiler maintenance, air conditioner repairs, mini-split installation, and many more. Each of our skilled techs is equipped with the right tools, knowledge, and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

Our company guarantees to have very affordable HVAC service prices in the locality. Our tune-up services can increase your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing energy costs. We can recommend the best and most budget-friendly solution for your HVAC repair or replacement needs. All of our work is guaranteed to ensure your satisfaction. Schedule a service appointment and give Tower Energy a call today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

Contact us now or call us at (860) 677-7347 to find out more.