Skip to content

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

how-does-a_c-work

You know that your air conditioner DOES work (or if it doesn’t, that’s something we’d be glad to help you out with!) But you’ve probably wondered to yourself before, how exactly does an air conditioner work?

Today, we are going to explain everything in friendly lay terms!

Did you know, your air conditioner and your refrigerator work basically the same way? That may not surprise you much, since they do both produce cold air, after all!

For an air conditioner, the goal is to take the heat from your home and move it outside. The evaporator in your air conditioner takes the hot air from inside, and removes the heat from the air.

How the heck does the evaporator “remove” heat from your air?

Well, it’s called an evaporator because it’s where the refrigerant evaporates. And in the process from turning from a liquid into a gas, your refrigerant is able to “pick up” the heat from your home’s air!

So now, after passing through the evaporator, that cool air can bring you comfort in your home.

But how does the heat in the refrigerant get expelled outside?

Well, the refrigerant goes from the evaporator into another component in your A/C, called the compressor, where it is pressurized (hence, being called a compressor). That way, the refrigerant is able to release the heat to the outdoors.

Then, the refrigerant is cycled back to the evaporator again … so it can remove heat from your home’s air again … and repeat the process, over and over!

(Hopefully for many years, until something finally goes wrong — at least it should last that long, if you get regular A/C tune-ups from us!)

Back to comparing an air conditioner to a refrigerator, as we did at the beginning of this article:

Refrigerators use a refrigerant that changes state from a liquid to a gas and vice versa, the same way that air conditioners do.

But in the case of a refrigerator, the heat from the food you buy slowly heats the air inside your fridge. It’s the refrigerant’s job, in its liquid state, to remove that heat from the air inside of the fridge.

That way, of course, your fridge stays full of cold air!

At the bottom of the refrigerator, there is a compressor, where the refrigerant is heated, so that it’s hot enough to go through pipes in the back of your refrigerator. That heat is released into your house.

So, your fridge releases hot air into your home … and is actually slightly working against your air conditioner. Yes, as you can see, these two appliances do almost the same job, but ironically, they are working against each other a bit.

If you want to learn more about something that will work FOR you instead of against you, then continue to browse our website and learn more about how Parker and Sons works for its customers!

We hope we helped you learn more about how an air conditioner works, but if you have any other questions, feel free to ask us for help! If you are a Phoenix homeowner with any A/C questions or issues, contact us online or call us at 602-273-7247 .

Scroll To Top