How a Central Air Conditioning System Works

Central air conditioning is one of the most popular appliances to install in U.S. households. It is the most reliable type of air conditioning system to thoroughly cool an entire house. To understand how a central air conditioning system works, let’s understand the mechanism of the main components of the machine.

The Mechanism

Once turned on, the air conditioner unit sucks air from each room through the return register of the ductwork. The evaporator coils then strip the extra heat from said air, which effectively drops the air temperature. The gas refrigerant then absorbs that heat, turning itself into liquid. A fan in the indoor unit blows the chilled air back to the room through the ductwork, giving you a colder air temperature.

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Meanwhile, the compressor sends the liquid refrigerant to the condenser, which then releases the heat outside of the house. After the excess heat is gone, the refrigerant turns into gas again and flows back to the evaporator in the indoor unit, waiting to absorb heat again from the air.

This whole process goes on continuously while the AC is on. When you hit the off button, the whole system stops immediately. You can automate the system using a thermostat. The sensor will turn the AC on and off once the air reaches a certain temperature. A thermostat can also do the readjustment automatically when the air temperature changes.

Type of Central Air Conditioning System

In general, there are two kinds of central AC systems: split systems and packaged systems. A split system has two units with a refrigerant line connecting both units through a closed loop. The outdoor unit contains a compressor, a condenser, and a blower fan to disperse the heat out of the house. The indoor unit contains an evaporator and a blower fan to send the chilled air back into the room.

Meanwhile, a packaged system means there is only one unit to contain all the elements. Most of the time, the packaged central AC unit is located outdoors due to its large size. It can either be on the ground or on the roof. It is not advisable to put a packaged AC unit indoors because it will then be more prone to overheating, especially if you use your AC for long hours.

Besides the different units, a central air conditioning system also requires ductwork to allow the chilled air to pass through and reach every room in the house. The more areas you want to cool, the more air ducts you need to install in the ductwork.

All air conditioners use similar mechanisms to produce cold indoor air. The difference is in how they deliver the chilled air and how all the components are packaged and connected.

For a central air conditioning system, it is the ductwork that differentiates it from other types of AC systems. The ductwork also enables the air to distribute evenly to the entire house interior.

Although the installation for a central air conditioning system can be expensive, it may be worth it to ensure even air distribution within your home.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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