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Understanding the Science Behind Air Conditioning and How It Works

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Air conditioning is a process that cools the air by lowering its temperature and removing moisture from it. This is done through the use of refrigerant, which is circulated through an air conditioning system in order to absorb heat from the inside air and move it outside. To understand how air conditioning works, we must first look at the science behind it.

Components of an Air Conditioning System

A residential air conditioning system typically consists of several key components, including:

  • Evaporator coils: These are located inside the indoor unit of the air conditioner, and they are responsible for absorbing heat from the air in the room.
  • Compressor: This is located in the outdoor unit of the air conditioner, and it is responsible for compressing the refrigerant and circulating it through the system.
  • Condenser coils: These are located in the outdoor unit of the air conditioner, and they are responsible for releasing the heat absorbed by the refrigerant.
  • Expansion valve: This component regulates the flow of refrigerant and helps to maintain the proper pressure within the system.
  • Refrigerant: A substance used to transfer heat, circulate through the system, and absorb and release heat as it changes from a liquid to a gas and vice versa.
  • Thermostat: The thermostat is the control center of the air conditioning system, allowing the user to adjust the temperature and set the system to the desired level of cooling.
  • Ductwork: Ducts are used to circulate the cooled or heated air throughout the building. They are often made of metal or flexible plastic and are connected to the indoor and outdoor units of the air conditioner
  • Blower: inside the indoor unit, the Blower circulates the air through the evaporator coils and then pushed it back into the room as cooled air
  • Air filter: The air filter helps to remove contaminants, such as dust and debris, from the air before it is circulated back into the room.

How Does Air Conditioning Work?

Air conditioning works by using a refrigerant, a substance that readily vaporizes and condenses, to absorb heat from the air inside a building and transfer it to the outside. The basic process can be broken down into main parts:


  1. The refrigerant, which is in a liquid form, is drawn into the compressor.
  2. The compressor then compresses the refrigerant, causing it to become a hot, high-pressure gas.
  3. The hot gas is then passed through the condenser coils, located outside the building, where it releases the absorbed heat to the outside air and condenses back into a liquid.
  4. The cooled, liquid refrigerant is then passed through an expansion valve, which reduces its pressure and causes it to boil, turning it back into a low-pressure, low-temperature vapor.
  5. The cooled vapor is then passed through the evaporator coils, located inside the building, where it absorbs heat from the air and turns back into a low-pressure liquid.
  6. The cooled air is then circulated back into the building, lowering the temperature and providing comfort for the building’s inhabitants.
  7. Lastly, the refrigerant will return back to the compressor and the cycle will repeat over and over again.

How Your Air Conditioner Removes Hot Air & Blows Cold Air

This working fluid is a high-pressure, hot gas that exits the compressor and moves to the condenser. Metal fins wrap around the outside unit of an air conditioning system. These fins function similarly to a vehicle’s radiator in that they help dissipate heat more quickly.

The fluid is much cooler when it exits the condenser. Because of the high pressure, it also changes from a gas to a liquid. The fluid enters the evaporator through a tiny, narrow hole, and when it reaches the other side of the passage, the pressure drops. When this occurs, the fluid begins to evaporate and turn into gas.

Heat is extracted from the surrounding air as this occurs. This heat is required to separate the liquid molecules into gas molecules. The evaporator’s metal fins also aid in the exchange of thermal energy with the surrounding air.

When the refrigerant exits the evaporator, it is a low-pressure, chilled gas once more. When it returns to the compressor, the process begins again. A fan connected to the evaporator circulates air around the interior of the property and across the evaporator’s fins.

Through a vent, the air conditioner draws air into the ducts. This air is used to cool the gas in the evaporator, and as the heat from the air is removed, it cools. Ducts then return the air to the house.

This process is repeated until the temperature inside your home or business is reached. When the thermostat detects that the interior temperature has reached the desired level, it turns off the air conditioner. When the room begins to heat up again, the thermostat restarts the air conditioner until the desired ambient temperature is restored.

Let Big Easy HVAC Install Your Home’s Air Conditioning Unit Today!

Now that you know how air conditioning works, it’s time to get your own air conditioning system installed in New Orleans. At Big Easy HVAC, our experienced and certified technicians are here to help you every step of the way. We’ll work with you from start to finish to ensure that your air conditioning unit is properly installed and provides you with optimal cooling and air quality. Contact us today to learn more about our air conditioning services and installation!

What Our clients Say

We have had a lot of problems with our attic fan and air conditioning this summer. We called Big Easy HVAC on Wednesday, they came by within an hour to check it out and the tech was back at work straight away Friday morning replacing what needed fixing! The service is great. Highly recommend!

Craig Vandeusen

Big Easy HVAC is a company that delivers excellent customer service. They have come out to our home twice and both times were really helpful with repairs as well as seasonal maintenance services such as air conditioner installation or furnace repair! The staff here are professional, considerate people who make sure you’re taken care of before anything else happens.

Joanne Rodriguez

My experience with Big Easy HVAC has been wonderful. The team was quick to come out and fix my air conditioning when it went down, they kept me updated on what needed fixing while doing so! And also pricing things fairly. I will definitely use them again next time around.

Larry Mitchell

The service provided by Big Easy HVAC was extremely professional and prompt. When I initially called for service, I had a leaking air conditioner. My issue was determined to be a plumbing problem by the technician after a further examination. A plumber appointment was scheduled and the issue was resolved at a fair price after he contacted the office.

Christina Lamb

The team was a pleasure to work with! Big Easy HVAC came out and got the job done quickly after we had major problems with our evaporator coil. From the office to sales to techs, it was a great experience! I will definitely call them when issues arise in the future, and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a reliable HVAC company!

Marvin Benson

They came out to repair my new HVAC system and discovered several issues the other contractor had missed. Corrected the issues. The employees at Big Easy HVAC were very polite and professional. Despite temperatures below freezing a week later, the company still called to ensure everything was functioning properly. This is the company to call for all your HVAC needs!

Donna Vincent