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How an Air Conditioner Works

goodman central AC unit

Your air conditioner can change the temperature, humidity, and general quality of the air. As part of a central heating and cooling system, an air conditioner draws heat energy out of the house and transfers it to the outside air, replacing the air inside your home with cooler air. But scientifically, how does an air conditioner work? Our Florida Keys air conditioning experts explain the basics of how your AC operates.

Understanding Your Air Conditioning Unit

Essentially, your air conditioner is just like your refrigerator, but on a larger scale. Instead of cooling down a small, insulated space with food inside, your AC keeps the inside of your house cool. The first modern air conditioning system was developed in 1902 by a young electrical engineer named Willis Haviland Carrier.1 Carrier treated the air inside of the Sackett-Wilhelms Lithographing and Publishing Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. by passing it through chilled pipes. This process also helped to reduce humidity in the air. Carrier developed something with greater potential than he could ever imagine – and that’s when the idea for modern air conditioning was born.

How an HVAC Air Conditioner Works

Most air conditioners work in almost the exact same way. HVAC systems also have a heating element in them so they can warm the air on colder days and cool the air on warmer days.

  1. Warm air from your home is sucked into the base of the machine.
  2. The warm air flows over pipes that have coolant fluid circulating inside, cooling down the incoming air.
  3. The air flows over a heating element. On a cold day, this part of the machine can heat up so your HVAC can become a heater.
  4. A fan at the top blows the air back into your home through the air vents in the walls.

As the air from the house moves across the evaporator, the refrigerant within the coil picks up the temperature of the air. It absorbs heat from the air and turns it from a liquid into a vapor. It went from being a cold liquid to a hotter vapor, and at the same time, the air had heat removed from it, so the air went from being warmer to colder.2

Florida Keys Air Conditioning

Luckily, you don’t have to know the deepest scientific facts about how an air conditioner works to enjoy it in your home. If you have any questions regarding your HVAC system, you can count on the pros at All Brands Corp. AC Inc. We understand air conditioning and we are here to provide our valued customers with exceptional service! We offer maintenance, repair, and emergency AC services in Key Largo and beyond. Contact our HVAC contractors today for more information.




  1. Carrier – Willis Carrier: The Inventor of Modern Air Conditioning
  2. Live Science – Science of Summer: How Does Air Conditioning Work?

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