How an Air Conditioner works. How does an air conditioner really work? Air conditioners consist of three major components: a compressor, an evaporator, and a condenser. They also contain a special compound called refrigerant which loops through the whole system removing and absorbing heat from the surrounding environment. These systems draw their power from electricity, natural gas or coal power. The refrigerant cools the Freon which condenses it into water and then sends the evaporation through a venting system.


There are three classifications of air conditioners. Window units are the cheapest and the least energy efficient. These are generally made out of aluminum or stainless steel, with permanent magnets to keep them cool. They can be used to cool just a single room in a house or an entire house. Central air conditioners, which use Freon, have better efficiency and cooling power, but can be more expensive. Some central air conditioners are equipped with heat pump elements that can turn the heated air into cooled air.


Some cooling systems use the concept of the greenhouse effect. When air temperatures go up, some plants do better than others and thus produce more. Air conditioners that are building to make the entire house cooler rely on this principle, and so use Freon to lower the inside temperature of the house. In effect, they not only cool the house, but use much less electricity than other air conditioners.