Guide On How Air Conditioner Works: Its Parts And Functions

Air conditioning units, also known as air conditioners, refrigerant systems, or ACs, are designed to control the temperature and humidity within a room. What most people don't know is that there's more to air conditioners than meets the eye.

Unit components affect indoor air quality as well as indoor temperature. Understanding how your air conditioning unit works will help you make educated purchasing decisions and keep your home safe from potential hazards.

Air Conditioner Parts & Functions

Before we get into the specialized parts of a typical air conditioner, let's look at potential maintenance issues. An air conditioner's primary responsibility is to reduce the temperature within an area.

However, that's not all it can do. Through the use of a thermostat, air conditioners are able to track and adjust the ambient temperature. In addition, they contain a built-in filter to clean the air before it is recirculated.

The air conditioning units also remove moisture from the air. Humid air loses some of its moisture when its temperature is lowered, as temperature is a major factor in relative humidity. This is why, while operating on humid days, air conditioners release water through drains and moisture-collecting pans that are either nearby or attached to the units.

However, an air conditioner's primary components still control the flow of refrigerant and route air in either an indoor or outdoor direction.


Along with your furnace, this part is responsible for bringing cooled air into your home and bringing air at room temperature back out again.

Evaporator Coil

This inside part, called an evaporator coil, is situated next to the blower and is in charge of removing moisture and heat from the air. The refrigerant circulating through the coil makes this possible.

Having taken on heat, the refrigerant is now in a gaseous condition, ready to be compressed. The gas is then compressed and heated more as it moves through the compressor. This crucial process gets the refrigerant ready to release heat.

Condensing Coil

An evaporator coil's outdoor counterpart is called a condensing coil. From the compressor to the condenser, the refrigerant carries away the indoor heat. The liquid refrigerant then makes its way back into the evaporator coil to absorb more heat.


With all that superheated refrigerant rushing through the exterior condensing unit, it's no surprise that it gets very toasty. To prevent overheating, this device makes use of a fan and metal fins that act as heat exchangers.

Air Filter

While it is possible to run an air conditioner without an air filter, the buildup of dust and grit in the air over time could potentially damage the internal AC's components. If you put in a filter that's good enough, you can even make your home's air better while the AC is running.


The thermostat monitors the room's temperature and instructs the AC system when to turn on and off based on that data. Here, you can adjust the thermostat to your preferred setting. In order to save money on cooling costs, raise the thermostat higher.

Window and Split-System AC Units

a mini-split type air conditioner

An air conditioner can be implemented in a compact space with the help of a window air conditioner unit. The size of the units is designed to be compatible with most window casings. To get cool air, you seal the window, plug in the unit, and switch it on. After unplugging a window air conditioner, you can see its contents by removing the lid.

• Compressor

• Expansion valve

• Hot coil (outside)

• Chilled coil (inside)

• Two fans

• Control unit

When the fans are turned on, air is blown over the coils, which helps to release heat (to the air outside) and chill the space (to the room being cooled).

Split-system air conditioners should be considered for larger-scale cooling projects. A split-system air conditioner, depicted in detail below, features a hot side and a cold side that operate independently of one another.

The expansion valve and cold coil, which make up the cold side, are typically installed in an air handler or furnace. By using a network of ducts, the air handler distributes the conditioned air throughout the building after passing through the coil. The condensing unit, sometimes called the hot side, is located outside the structure.

A lengthy, spiral coil in cylinder form makes up the unit. A fan, a weather-resistant compressor, and some control logic are all housed within the coil to circulate air through the coil.

This method has progressed throughout time because of its inexpensive initial cost and its generally favorable outcome, which is a quieter home (despite the fact that there will be more noise from the street).

A split-system air conditioner is identical to a window air conditioner except that it has a higher capacity (therefore a larger compressor and coils) moreover, there is a real wall separating the hot and cold areas.

The condensing unit is typically housed on the roof of large structures like warehouses, large offices, shopping centers, and huge department stores.

Alternatively, there could be a large number of smaller units on the roof, each connected to a separate air handler on the inside. The split-system method runs into difficulties in larger buildings, especially those with multiple stories.

The amount of duct work and the length of ducts become unmanageable, or the distance the pipe can be run between the condenser and the air handler becomes too long (runs that are too long begin to cause lubricating troubles in the compressor). The time has come to consider installing a chilled-water cooling system.


Air conditioners, or ACs as they are more commonly referred to, are the electronic devices that keep cool air circulating in your home. This means all your family members can enjoy a comfortable temperature, even on humid days.

It can be beneficial to understand how each of the parts work so that your AC experience is as rewarding as possible.

You can always count on GQ Heating and Air for prompt and professional service when it comes to your HVAC system. We are a one-stop shop for all of your heating, cooling and air quality needs!

Visit us at!

We offer affordable rates for all types of repairs and installations

We go above and beyond for every project to exceed your expectations while providing superior service

✆ 714-389-3925

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