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What Exactly is an Air Conditioner?

Updated: Jan 26

An air conditioner is your home's personal climate wizard. It removes heat and humidity from the air in your home to reach your desired indoor temperature. Central AC cools your entire home, while ductless AC cools just one portion or room in your home. It cools down hot indoor air by removing heat and transferring it outside while sending excess moisture down the drain. Basically air conditioning swoops in to heroically save you from Florida's sweltering heat!


White square with galaxy background, yellow stars and World's Greatest heating and Air logo Definition of Air conditioner is to remove heat and humidity from the air to reach a desired indoor temperature.

What is an air conditioner?

An air conditioner is a very cool device (pun intended) that helps regulate the temperature, humidity, and quality of air in a space such as your home. It cools down hot indoor air by removing heat and transferring it outside while sending excess moisture down the drain. Air conditioners come in central or split-system, window unit, or ductless varieties.

A central air conditioner usually has two components: an outdoor condenser/compressor unit and an indoor evaporator coil. The indoor and outdoor units work together to cool and dehumidify the air in your home to keep you comfy-cozy! While a central ducted split-system cools your entire home, ductless-mini splits are smaller and do not have ductwork throughout the home. They are designed to cool just one room or one area of your home. Window units are single pieces of equipment that fit in a window or wall opening and are perfect for cooling one room.

How does an air conditioner work?

An air conditioner contains a refrigeration system, and works very similar to your refrigerator, except it doesn't just keep your leftovers cold, it keeps your entire home cool. More specifically, an air conditioner works by using refrigerant to absorb the heat from inside your home, converting it into a gas state. The refrigerant is then passed through the compressor which increases its temperature further before releasing it outside of the home. This process reduces indoor temperatures and helps regulate humidity levels in the house. After absorbing heat, the refrigerant is cooled down and passed back into the indoor coil (the evaporator) to repeat the cycle. Pretty cool, huh?

An alien character floating an HVAC unit on his finger

What maintenance do I need to do on my air conditioner?

Regular upkeep and maintenance of your air conditioner is necessary to keep it running efficiently and effectively. Make sure to change or clean the air filter periodically, and keep bushes and tall grass or grass clippings out of the outdoor unit. It is also important to schedule annual maintenance visits with a qualified technician, like yours truly, who can check the system more thoroughly and make any necessary adjustments.


Introduction to Air-conditioning Process

There are seven main processes required to achieve full air conditioning:

  1. Heating — the process of adding thermal energy the space for the purposes of raising or maintaining the temperature of the space.

  2. Cooling — the process of removing thermal energy from the space for the purposes of lowering or maintaining the temperature of the space.

  3. Humidifying — the process of adding moisture to the air in the space for the purposes of raising or maintaining the moisture content of the air.

  4. Dehumidifying — the process of removing moisture from the air in the space for the purposes of lowering or maintaining the moisture content of the air.

  5. Cleaning — the process of removing particulates and biological contaminants from the air delivered to the space for the purposes of improving or maintaining the air quality.

  6. Ventilation — the process of exchanging air between the outdoors and the conditioned space for the purposes of diluting the gaseous contaminants in the space. Ventilation can be achieved either through:  Natural ventilation: it is driven by natural draft, like when you open a window.  Mechanical ventilation. Can be achieved by using fans to draw air in from outside or by fans that exhaust air from the space to outside.

  7. Air Movement — the process of circulating and mixing air through conditioned spaces in the building for the purposes of achieving the proper ventilation and facilitating the thermal energy transfer.




World's Greatest Heating and Air logo - globe with yellow text


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