While air conditioners can differ from model to model, they all operate on similar principles. In this passage we will explain how an air conditioner operates as well as potential problems you may encounter.

when you switch the air conditioner ON the thermostat control sends 120 volts of alternating current to the compressor and the fan motor. The compressor acts like a pump, compressing refrigerant in gas form into the condenser coils located near the back of the unit where the gas is condensed into a hot liquid. The condenser coils dissipate the heat as the liquid travels through them.

Once the refrigerant has passed through the condenser coils and the capillary tubes it travels to the evaporator coils located near the front of the unit. As the refrigerant liquid enters into these coils it expands into gas which makes the coils cold. The gas flows through the coils to a suction line attached to the compressor. The compressor converts the gas back into liquid and the cooling cycle continues. At the same time the fan motor rotates a blower wheel which draws in air to be cooled by the evaporator coils before re-circulating it back into the room. The same motor also operates the condenser fan blade which blows outside air through the condenser coils to cool them. The air temperature is regulated by the thermostat control.