How Air Conditioners Work

Air conditioners are among the most important inventions among the millions of other inventions that have now become a necessity. Whether you are in your office, in a shopping mall, or just relaxing at home, air conditioners are always there to beat the uncomfortable heat for you. Despite their vast usage in our everyday life, not many of us know how air conditioners work.

Let us find out here:

Working Principle

The basic working principle for the air conditioners is as follows:

An air conditioner uses refrigeration to cool the air that is inside a room. It works on the basic law of physics that liquid converts to gas by absorbing heat. This transfer process is called a phase conversion.

air conditioners utilize the phase conversion property. Inside an air conditioner, certain specific chemicals are forced to follow a cycle of evaporating and condensing inside a closed system composed of coils.

Components Of An Air Conditioner

An air conditioner has the following different components which work to cool the indoor air:


The special compounds used in the air conditioners are called refrigerants. They are special in the sense that they have the property to convert into the other state at temperatures, which are relatively low.


There also fans in the air conditioners, which are involved in moving the inner, warmer air over the coils that are filled with cold refrigerants. The centralized air conditioning system has a number of ducts for the purpose of directing the air to and from these coils.


The air conditioners, not only cool the air inside the rooms but they also regulate the temperature using a thermostat. They monitor the air temperature and based on that the air conditioners cool the inside air.

Filters And Dehumidifiers

Air conditioners also have filters. Their function is to remove the airborne particles from the air. If the filters stop working properly, these particles can become a hurdle for the circulating air.

The dehumidifiers in the air conditioners absorb all the moisture from the air while cooling it down. This is the reason why water is discharged by the air conditioners on humid days.

Other Parts:

If we open an air conditioner, we will find many different components inside it. These are:

  • Compressor
  • An expansion valve
  • An outside hot coil
  • An inside chilled coil
  • A couple of fans
  • A control unit


An air conditioner works to convert the hot air inside the room to cooler air by transferring the heat to the outside. It works as follows:

  1. The hot air from the room enters the air conditioner. It passes over some pipes through which the refrigerants are circulating. The air is cooled down.
  2. This air then re-enters the room and it is much cooler. This results in the cooling of the inside of the room as well.
  3. What happens inside the pipes is that the refrigerants suck up the heat from the warm air. This provides these coolants the temperature at which they turn from liquid to gas. This hot gas carrying the heat of the room then evaporates to the outside environment. While the heat is dissipated to the atmosphere, the coolant passes through the compressors and turns back into the cool liquid.
  4. This cycle continues, cooling down the warm air.
  5. As for the heat, it is removed to the atmosphere in the form of vapors. There is a portion of an air conditioner, which is installed outside the room. It contains the radiator consisting of many metal plates. A fan blows over these plates to accelerate the removal of heat to the environment.

The warm air inside a room or a building is converted into cool air gradually lowering its temperature through this process. So next time someone asks you that how air conditioners work, you can answer them in detail.

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