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How Does an AC Unit work?

Posted on August 6, 2021 by oozle

How does an a/c unit work header
Air conditioners are our saving graces during the brutal summers. Especially here in Las Vegas where we’re used to our summers being well over one hundred degrees, but how do they work? The simple answer is AC units cool our homes down by drawing the heat out of our home and transferring it outdoors and then replacing the air inside your home with cooler air. However, they are more complex than we think.

Air conditioners are almost vital when it comes to beating the heat. That is why it’s important to keep yours running all summer long. If your AC unit has stopped working, contact us at Proserv, Las Vegas and we’ll give you a free quote.

Call: (702) 656-4500

Types of AC Units

Believe it or not, there is more than just one type of AC unit. You’ve probably heard of central air, but what other types are out there? Here are some of the most common types we see here at Provserv, Las Vegas:

  • Central Air Conditioners: These are by far the most common types of AC units. This model relies on an outside unit to draw in hot air and release cool air into your home.
  • Portable Air Conditioners: These are a more affordable option, but are limited to one room. These need a hose to operate and can typically be found on a window seal.
  • Ductless Air Conditioners: These can be a good alternative to central air. You’ll still have an outdoor condenser, but it cools your home with an indoor unit rather than ducts
  • Hybrid Air Conditioners: These use traditional energy and solar power to cool your home. These are very similar to central AC units, but instead, they are more energy-efficient.

While any of these AC units may work great for your home, when choosing one, we suggest sticking with a central air unit. These are the best way to cool down your entire home and beat that summer heat.

three air conditioners in a backyard

How Does an AC Unit Work?

As mentioned above, central AC units are more common and are all-around better units. A central air conditioner is like a giant refrigerator for your house. It even employs the same components, materials, and systems. When it starts its cycle, it gathers heat from one place and transfers it to another. These use a furnace, typically found in your basement. The furnace is what pumps chilled air throughout the house through a system of air ducts. You control the temperature of the air inside your home with a thermostat. When the thermostat is changed, it signals your AC unit to raise or lower the temperature and a sequence of events begin.

First, the air-handling unit kicks on, drawing the hot air from various parts of your home. The air travels through the air ducts and is eventually pulled through the air filter. The air filter will remove any airborne particles, such as dust and lint.

Next, your AC unit begins cooling your air. Every air conditioner has three main parts: a condenser, an evaporator, and a compressor. These are the key components that connect your furnace and air conditioner. The compressor circulates refrigerant to the outdoor unit, changing it from a gas to a liquid. The liquid then goes through the evaporator and with thermal energy, is turned into a vapor. The goal of this vapor is to remove heat from the surrounding air. The condenser then takes the heat from your home and the cooled air is blown back into your home.

What Does the Inside of Your AC Unit Look Like?

Air conditioners are complex machines that not many people are familiar with. Luckily for us, they are very easy to use. However, the inner workings aren’t so easy to understand. To help you know what the inside of your unit looks like, we’ve created this infographic.

A/C infographic

When to Replace Your AC Unit?

We often don’t think about our air conditioning units until something happens to them. The average lifespan of an air conditioning unit is 10 years, after that, they’ll slowly quit working. There is nothing worse than getting caught in this summer heat without air conditioning so check for these signs of a dying AC unit:


    • Frequent breakdowns
    • Your energy bill is higher than usual
    • Your unit is over 10 years old
    • The air isn’t coming out cold
    • There is leakage around your unit


These are just a few of the signs you need to look out for when it comes to replacing your AC unit. If you believe that it is time to replace your unit, then contact us today and we’d be happy to send someone out for your free quote!

Categories: Air Conditioning

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