Air Conditioner: How Does It Work And How Do You Maintain It?


In warm climates, most have air conditioning. Some might have it as a luxury but others have it as a necessity due to the high power bills that come with its use. Air conditioners cool your home by removing the heat from the air inside it the room. It does this by blowing the air over a set of cold pipes referred to as an evaporator coil. Inside the evaporator coil, there is a liquid called a refrigerant. This liquid changes from liquid to gas as it absorbs the heat from the air blown over the coil. The liquid is then pumped to another coil outside called a condenser where it loses its heat and changes its state back to liquid. There is a pump called a compressor that is responsible for moving the liquid between the evaporator coil and the condenser and making sure the different changes in the refrigerant occurs in the proper coils.

What the filters do

Almost all air conditioners have filters in one form or the other. These filters serve to keep the air clean by removing the particles from it and to keep the air conditioner clean. Over time, the filter collects a lot of particles. While this increases its efficiency, it also increase the resistance and in turn reduces the air flow. In such cases, it is best to change the filters. The frequency with which this happens will depend on the size of the filter.

Maintaining the system

Simple maintenance tasks such as changing the filters can be done by anyone but when it comes to more complex tasks, it is wise call in air conditioning services to do the maintenance work for you. At the start of every cooling season, you should brush some dirt and obstructions from the drains and the coils. Sometimes, the system may not be producing as much cold air as you expect. This could be a sign that there is a refrigerant charge problem. In such a case, call in an expert to have a look.


One other reason your system may seem to be underperforming is duct leakage. You should insulate ducts that are passing outside. There are various products designed specifically for this purpose and can easily be installed by any user. However, if you do not feel confident in yourself enough to install it, you can always call in a professional to do it for you. Sealing leaky ducts increases the efficiency of your air conditioner and saves you money.

How to increase energy efficiency

Other than sealing leaky ducts, there are other ways to increase the energy efficiency of your air conditioner. You can replace the dirty filters, clean the coils, and keep the right charge and airflow.

You can also make sure that the condenser is in an open space and that there are no leaves or matter clogging it and no trees are blocking its air flow.

Lighten the load

One way to increase the performance of you air conditioner is to reduce its workload. You can do this by improving the airflow in the building or reducing the amount of internal load your system has to handle. Reducing the load can be as simple as switching off appliances and lights that are not being used or any other heat-generating source that is not in use. This reduces the amount of heat inside the house and as a result, the amount of heat the air conditioner has to get rid of.


An ideal air conditioner should provide more than just cooling. It should be able to cool, purify, humidify, dehumidify, clean, and ventilate as required by the user. One of the most important tasks an air conditioner should perform is to ventilate. Older homes tend to have leaking roofs and ducts which tend to provide the homes with ventilation through the leakages. However, this is not a wise way to go about with ventilation.

Newer homes are more airtight compared to the old ones and thus need mechanical ventilation which should be provided by the air conditioner.

It is not the heat. It is the humidity!

The need to control humidity was what first gave birth to air conditioning. If not controlled, humidity in hot and humid climates may cause the growth of molds, which is detrimental to the health and comfort of the inhabitants of any house. Modern air conditioning systems both dehumidify and cool the house. However, the humidifying feature of these air conditioners is incidental to their main job, which is temperature control. It is impossible for them to independently control temperature and dehumidify the room. Some innovative air conditioners promise to do both. However, most conventional ones are still unable to do this. It may be wise to buy independent stand-alone temperature controllers and dehumidifier.