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How does an AC Unit Work? – Detailed Steps on How Your Air Conditioning Works 2022

How Does An AC Unit Work? – Detailed Steps On How Your Air Conditioning Works 2022

Air conditioner units are complex systems with many moving parts. Yet, the system is also fairly simple once you understand it. So today we will look at how an AC unit works so that you can better diagnose any problems you may have in the future. Fix-it 24/7 1. Setting the thermostat to the desired temp Set your thermostat to the desired temp to begin using your AC unit. Regardless if you select hot or cold, the thermostat is needed for both functions. 2. The condenser and compressor turn on When you activate the thermostat, the condenser and compressor turn on and begin to circulate air. The condenser pumps a liquid known as a refrigerant. 3. Condenser pumps refrigerant The condenser begins circulating a liquid known as refrigerant throughout the system. 4. Refrigerant goes from vapor to liquid Converting vapor to a liquid allows the transportation of heat from inside your home to outside. heat 5. Compressors change refrigerant to vapor Refrigerant enters the compressor as a low temperature, low-pressure vapor. The compression process turns it into a high-temperature, high-pressure vapor. 6. Travels through condenser into liquid The vapor that the compressor pressurizes travels through the condenser coils, which condense it into a liquid. The heat that is collected through this process is released outside with the help of a fan. 7. Condenser liquid flows to the metering device The liquid from the condenser is turned into a medium temperature high, pressure liquid that flows to a metering device. 8. Thermal Expansion Valve A thermal expansion valve controls the rate at which condensing liquid travels into the metering device. Medium temperature, high-pressure liquid travels through the valve and produces a vapor/liquid mix that is low temperature, low pressure. 9. The chilled refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil The low-temperature vapor/liquid mixture flows through the evaporator coil. 10. The Blower Circulates Air The chilled refrigerant is pushed to a blower which then begins to circulate air throughout the house. 11. Air pulled into the return ducts and passed through a filter Room temperature air is pulled through the return ducts and passed through a filter to remove any particles or dust. 12. Heat from the air is absorbed by the refrigerant in the evaporator coil The heat from the air is then absorbed by the refrigerant inside the evaporator coil, dispersing chilled air through the supply duct. 13. Refrigerant goes back into vapor form As the air passes through the coil, the refrigerant is boiled and evaporates into a vapor form. 14. Condensation forms outside on the coil As the refrigerant is boiled and evaporates, condensation will form on the outside of the coil and is piped through the condensation drain line. 15. The refrigerant returns to the condenser with the collected heat The refrigerant then returns to the condenser to disperse the collected heat outside. 16. The process starts all over again The cycle begins again.

The Important Parts of an Air Conditioner

Below you will find all the components of an air conditioner and their functions: Fix-it 24/7


An evaporator is used to turn a liquid into a vapor. In the case of an AC unit, the evaporator coil absorbs heat from inside your home. It is attached to the furnace or located inside of your air handler. The coil is full of refrigerant that the compressor pumpes to the metering device, which is then pushed through the coil from the blower fan which allows the refrigerant in the evaporator to absorb heat. The evaporator coupled with a condenser coil is used to complete the heat exchange process to produce cool air.


A blower motor sends conditioned air from the furnace, heat pump or air conditioner into the home. Once the system heats or cools the air, it is pumped through the blower motor to force it through the duct system and out through the vents in the house.


A condenser is the outdoor portion of an air conditioner that releases or collects heat. It starts the condensation process by allowing refrigerant to pass through it as a fan cools it and condenses into liquid form through a fan.


The compressor functions as the heart of your AC unit. The compressor converts gas into a liquid, turning a low-pressure refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas before it enters the condenser. The compressor along with the condenser allows the air conditioning to function.


The AC fan connects to your indoor air circulation, allowing it to return warm air to the condenser to recycle the process. The re-circulated air is converted to cool air and then redispersed throughout your home.

Metering Device

The metering device controls the flow and temperature of the incoming refrigerant. It ensures that the pressure and temperature are lowered before the refrigerant enters the evaporator.

Air conditioners filters

Air condition filters collect particulates and other debris, preventing them from entering your home and into the air you breathe.

Coil fins

There are two types of fins on an air conditioner: condenser fins and evaporator fins. They are both designed to promote airflow to help the heat exchange process better. Compressor fins help to disperse heat more quickly, while evaporator fins are designed to help cool air sent through the ducts and the vents of your home.

Condensate Drains

A condensate drain is a line that provides a channel or exit point for the humidity and condensation created by the air conditioner evaporator coils as the system begins the process of heat exchange.


A thermostat is a regulating device that senses the temperature of a physical system and performs actions such as heating or cooling until the system’s temperature reaches it’s desired target temperature Although it may seem overwhelming, understanding your air conditioner is a crucial step to helping you diagnose any future problems.


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