How do Air Conditioners Work?

Learn about how air conditioners work and the process of creating cool air. 

Do You Know How Air Conditioning Works?

how air conditioners work

Nearly everyone has an air conditioner in their home. They rely on it to keep themselves and their family comfortable when the temperature starts to rise. It’s an essential piece of machinery that operates day in and day out to keep our homes safe and comfortable throughout the year.

But how does your AC work? Despite being such a critical part of the home, most homeowners don’t really understand the process of filtering and cooling air. Understanding the basics of how an AC system works will help homeowners identify issues early, and know when to call an HVAC technician vs. tackling the problem themselves.

Air conditioning units have multiple cooperating parts. Failure of even just one component, or failure to maintain your unit throughout the year, will cause the entire system to fail. Though many homeowners don’t know how their system works, they sure know when it isn’t functioning.

The Process of HVAC Units Creating Cool Air

The air conditioning process begins with air entering the unit. Step one sees the AC pull in air from throughout the home. Since a machine can’t cool down air by itself, the air is pushed into a section of the system flowing with coolant fluid. The fluid flows through the evaporator coils inside the air handler unit. The air then interacts with this liquid, transferring the heat in the air to the liquid coolant. This process creates moisture as the liquid refrigerant is converted to a gas. Condensate collects on the coils and is drained out of the system.

After the cooling process is complete, the air is funneled into the next chamber. This area serves as a heater, working in direct correlation with the settings on your thermostat. In other words, if it were a chilly day outside, this compartment would warm the air in the home to a comfortable temperature. On blistering days, the thermostat indicates to the unit that not much work is needed in this area.

After the air makes its way through those two compartments, it is finally ready to be discharged. The unit has a fan which blows the air back into the home. With the air in your home now at a satisfactory temperature, the AC has completed its job, right?

Well, the process isn’t finished just yet. The air conditioning procedure causes the coolant that lowered the air temperature earlier to evaporate. This process transforms it from a cold liquid into a hot gas. This vapor is then channeled into a compressor, which separates the heat from the coolant. The coolant itself returns to its chilled liquid form, while the unit expels this newfound heat outside of the home. The coolant is then funneled back to the outlet location of the cycle.

This cycle repeats as many times as necessary until your home reaches the temperature you set on the thermostat.

How to Fix Your AC

fix your air conditioner

It is this process that enables your home to remain cool despite a high outside temperature, and vice versa. Although this is just a simplified explanation of the process, it is these basic steps that come together to cool your home. If you think your AC unit stopped working and needs repair, you should address it as soon as possible. The less time your family suffers in immense discomfort the better.

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Customer Reviews

best hvac company in Augusta
“I called 6 other companies when my AC stopped pushing air at 5PM. None of them seemed to want my business. When I got to Sig Cox, the guy who answered the phone was polite, knowledgeable, and was even trouble shooting with me before sending someone out. The agent got to my house in 30 minutes, troubleshoot, and fixed the problem in another 30. He even topped off the freon for free. The pricing was definitely agreeable. You’d get charged the same or more with any other company. Some of the best customer service I have seen. You should absolutely consider Sig Cox for you HVAC problems, I won’t be looking anywhere else.”
Nicholas Brennan
Nicholas BrennanGoogle Review
“These people are amazing. After hiring Sig Cox the first time to fix my HVAC unit about a year ago, I was more than happy, to say the least. Then about a week ago I had them install a new HVAC unit for me. This is by far the best a/c repair company in Augusta GA. They are professional, timely, and really take care of their customers. I highly recommend them and proudly give them an A+ rating! Thank you all so much!”
Chris Kirksey
Chris KirkseyGoogle Review
“This company did some work for my mother-in-law, of which she was quite pleased, so she recommended them to us. We had a downstairs unit that just wasn’t putting out any cool air. They came by post haste and assessed the unit, gratis. Of course it was a compressor failure so we had to make the hard decision to buy a new unit or fix what we had. The advice we got from our man on the scene was honest and sincere.
Since we had an older unit that used the phased out Freon and compressors are ugh, expensive, we went with a new unit. We decided on the Amana since it had a lifetime warranty on the compressor and rated well in Consumer Reports.
A month later the other unit failed and we replaced that as well. Six Cog worked with us on the price, we were never hassled on the payment, nor did they demand any payment on the spot and never did I feel pressured into anything. The install was smooth, fast and highly professional. Both units fired up, granted a month apart, and the house was cool almost immediately.
This company has a great reputation from what I can garner in the community, and I’m here to tell you that I recommend them highly as well. Please note that this is first recommendation I have ever put online.”
Donald Bradshaw
Donald BradshawGoogle Review
“Very good experience. The Service Technician, David, went above and beyond to assist us in our AC repair.”
Daniel Brown
Daniel BrownGoogle Review
“From the first time that Mr. Boarwright came out, I knew that your company was top of the line. None [of the other companies] laid it out on paper like Sig Cox.”
Steven Burris
Steven BurrisGoogle Review
“Thank you and your crew for your profession assistance in solving our unique heating and cooling situation that involved two seperate zones.”
PJ Rodgers
PJ RodgersGoogle Review
“It was a pleasure doing business with your staff. They were professional and provided the solution to our problem.
Margaret Brubaker
Margaret BrubakerGoogle Review
My air conditiong system went out, Sig Cox was recommended so I called them. Technician Andrew came out, was on time, and he properly diagnosed the problem. He had the part ordered. When the part came in, Nolan installed the part perfectly. Both technicians were very professional and knowledgeable. I even talked to the owner of the company who is involve day-to-day with his company. Very nice people to deal and they really go beyond what’s expected to help you get things fixed. I highly recommend Sig Cox!! Ask for Andrew or Nolan, they know what they’re doing!!
Dan Can
Dan CanGoogle Review
“We had a heating and air company we were satisfied with, but when we needed a new unit we went with Sig Cox because of the deal we couldn’t beat. We have been SO impressed with everyone we have worked with, from the customer service, to the salesman, to the technicians, they are all so friendly and professional! We will be loyal customers from now on!”
Ashley Marks
Ashley MarksGoogle Review