8 Types of Air Conditioner and How AC Works

Similar to the Internet, having an air conditioner at the comfort of your house has started out as a fancy amenity, but now has turned into a necessity especially now that the summer is just around the corner.

With that said, you must get your home ready for a comfortable summer season. When purchasing an air conditioner, you should know what type of AC is suitable for your house.

If you want to know what’s the right AC for your home, then read on!

8 types of air conditioner and how ac works

Who Invented the Air Conditioner?

For the most part, we’ve been so grateful to air conditioners during a sweltering summer day. However, who should we actually thank for the refreshing convenience brought by air conditioners?

The answer to that question is none other than Willis Carries. He’s an American engineer credited with inventing the first modern AC system. Furthermore, the concept of using evaporated water or certain liquids to cool off a muggy space far precedes Carrier’s 1902 invention.

The first known AC systems that used water to cool indoor spaces were engineered by ancient Egyptians, who lowered the temperature in their houses by hanging damp mats over their doorways. The evaporated water from the damp mats lessens indoor air temperatures and also added refreshing humidity to the dry desert air.

Not so long after the ancient Egyptians beat the heat using their doorway mats, the Romans developed a primitive AC system by utilizing their prominent aqueducts to circulate fresh water through indoor pipes. It’s an approach that significantly minimizes the air temperature inside stuffy villas.

How Does an Air Conditioner Work?

how air conditioner (ac) works

You know your AC system can keep your business or home cool in the hot summer seasons, but have you ever wondered how AC works?

One interesting fact that you might not know is that your AC as well as your refrigerator work primarily in a similar approach. The difference is that your refrigerator chills a small, insulated space, and an AC can keep your office, home, or commercial space at a comfortable temperature.

The full process of making the air in your property a comfortable temperature is based on a very basic scientific principle, and the rest is reached by a mechanical approach.

Let’s take a look at how AC works to cool your home.

1.) The Process of Cooling Your Home With Ac

Your AC unit utilizes certain chemicals that convert from gas to liquid and back again immediately. These particular chemicals transfer the heat from the air inside your property to the outside air.

Your AC system comes in three main parts. They are the evaporator, condenser, and compressor.

Your unit’s condenser and compressor are normally located in the outside part of the AC unit. Inside the house is where you’ll find the evaporator.

The cooling fluid gets to the compressor as a low-pressure gas. Then the compressor squeezes this certain fluid which is in the form of gas, and the molecules in the liquid will be packed closer together. The closer the compressor forces these certain molecules altogether, the higher the energy and temperature rise.

2.) How Your Air Conditioner Blows Cold Air and Removes Hot Air

The operating fluid exits the compressor in the form a high-pressure, hot gas, and it moves to the condenser. The outside unit of an AC system is incorporated with metal fins all around its housing. These particular fins work similar to the radiator of a car, and they aid on dissipating heat more rapidly.

When the fluid leaves the condenser, it will be much cooler. It is also changed from a gas to liquid due to the high pressure. The fluid will make its way into the evaporator through a minuscule, narrow hole, and when the liquid gets to the other side of the passage, its pressure drops. If this happens, the fluid will begin to evaporate to gas.

If this occurs, the heat is extracted from the surrounding air. This heat is needed to separate the molecules of the liquid into a gas. Then the metal fins on the evaporator also aid on exchange thermal energy with the air.

After the refrigerant exits the evaporator, it will go back as a low-pressure once again. The process will start all over when it goes back to the compressor. There’s a fan that is linked to the evaporator, and this fan will circulate air around the inside of the property and across the fins of the evaporator.

The AC then sucks air into the ducts through a vent. Then this air is utilized to cool gas in the evaporator, and as the heat is eliminated from the air, it is cooled. Then ducts blow air back into your house.

This particular process will continue until the inside air of your business space or home gets to your desired temperature. When the thermostat senses that the temperature is at your desired level, it will shut down the AC unit off. And if space heats up again, the thermostat will turn the AC unit back on until the right ambient temperature is reached again.

Types of Air Conditioner

After deciding to buy an AC, your selections will include everything from window units to central AC systems, swamp coolers, package terminal AC, ductless split systems, wall AC units, portable air conditioners, and even geothermal cooling systems.

1.) Window Air Conditioners

Window Air Conditioners

This version of AC is the most normal kind of air conditioning system you’ll always see. As you walk down a city street during summer and look up, you will be able to see a number of these AC units installed in the windows above you. And sometimes you’ll get dripped on by their condensation so you might reconsider looking up.

Furthermore, this kind of AC is usually mounted in a window, hence the name. It has an exhaust system that pushes hot air out the back and sides, while its refrigerant cooling system is pointed indoors.

This type of air conditioner, normally mounted in a window, has an exhaust system which pushes hot air out the back and sides, while the refrigerant cooling system is pointed indoors.

Normally, this type of AC has the ability to cool one room at a time, and if you’ve got a large home, you might need one of these installed in each of room you want to cool. Normally cheap, these are still the most known choice for those who’re living in small apartments or homes. One advantage of Window AC systems is that they can be moved between rooms if necessary and removed altogether during colder months.

2.) Central Air Conditioning

Central Air Conditioning

For those people who have a large house and want to cool many rooms at once, then Central ACs are the most ideal choice and most effective form of air conditioning.

This version starts with a cooling compressor, which is placed outside of the home and is the piece that actually cools the air. A coil filled with refrigerant is utilized to cool the air, which is then blown by a fan and distributed all over your home through duct-works.

By utilizing these return ducts and supply, the central air conditioning system circulates the cool air through the entire establishment while warm air is then carried back through the return system and pushed out of your house using an exhaust system.

3.) Portable Air Conditioners

Portable Air Conditioners

Just like the window ACs, portable air conditioner units are another version of a self-contained AC system. Meaning, just like a window unit, portable air conditioners come with all of their vital parts contained within an entire unit.

Portable ACs are most commonly used in settings where either the design of the building or room’s regulations and rules preclude the installation of a window unit. Portable ACs work by cooling the air with a condenser coil contained inside the system and then sending the warm air out using a large exhaust system.

4.) Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners

Through-the-Wall Air Conditioners

Through-the-wall AC units bring in warm air which is then released, while they send cool air back into the room at the same time.

Similar to portable air conditioners and window units, this version is self-contained. For those without accessible windows, then through-the-wall units are a really great choice. However, they need some planning since compared to window units; they will be mounted permanently and might not be removed.

Nonetheless, a significant advantage of through-the-wall AC units compared to the window unit is that you won’t lose the purpose of your window. It also comes with an airtight seal, which makes the unit more energy efficient.

5.) Ductless Split System Air Conditioners

Ductless Split System Air Conditioners

Split systems are versions of AC that gives cooling to different places within a house.

Compared to portable ACs or Window ACs, ductless split systems are not self-contained appliances but are composes of a two-part system. They are most normally used in buildings without a comprehensive duct system.

They’re known as a split AC system since they consist of two or more components. The first one is the condenser unit, which is placed outdoors, and then its compact blower units, which are typically mounted on walls. These particular components are linked through conduits, which carry the refrigerant and power lines.

The very advantage of split AC systems is that they can cool different places at different temperatures since each compact unit is integrated with its own thermostat.

Due to this feature, the system can also be even pricier compared to acquiring a central AC system installed.

6.) Package Terminal Air Conditioners

Package Terminal Air Conditioners

Package Terminal ACs are the versions of an air conditioning system which are normally found in commercial spaces including apartment buildings, hospitals, hotels, and senior or assisted living facilities.

If you have stayed in a hotel before, you should know that they are usually installed just above the floor and normally just below a window. The part you can’t see is that on the side of the wall. PTAC is incorporated with an exhaust system sending warm air outside for the building.

Although they’re normally used in commercial environments, they’re also a good choice as a home AC system.

7.) Evaporative or “Swamp” Coolers

Evaporative or Swamp Coolers

This version is also known as swamp coolers. They aren’t nearly as prominent as refrigerant air conditioners, but they can be equally as effective.

Compared to conventional ACs, which utilize a refrigerant, swamp coolers only use water and air.

The technology that swamp coolers use is so simple; in fact, this technology can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

In other words, when air passes through or above water, the air cooled. With this in mind, swamp coolers pull hot air into your home through damped pads, which then cools the air. This cooled air is then distributed throughout your home.

8.) Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

This kind of system is relatively new and energy efficient technology, which is drastically becoming popular globally.

Because of the insulating traits of the earth, the ground beneath us normally maintains a relatively constant temperature of around 55 degrees Fahrenheit all year-round.

Regardless of the weather outside, the earth which is 4-6 feet down always remains relatively unaffected.

Geothermal technology takes advantage of this ground properties to cool and heat your home more efficiently compared to other systems and methods.

What Size Air Conditioner Do I Need

Home AC systems are available in three primary categories.

The conventional split-system units packaged ACs, and ductless systems. Each of them operates by the same basic process to lower the temperature and dehumidify the air around your home.

Regardless of which version of system works best for your place, correctly sizing it will give the best results of comfort in your home. For most consumers, determining the right size shall be best handled by a professional HVAC contractor.

An HVAC contractor can understand the variables involved and be able to perform the cooling load calculations required for proper AC system sizing and installation.

Nevertheless, comprehending some of the principles behind cooling system sizing and the reasons why it is so crucial will be beneficial when considering a new AC system for your house.

For instance, in terms of the size of your home, AC, bigger is not always better. Incorporating your space with a larger system with a lot of cooling capacity not only utilizes more energy than the optimal requirements, but an over-sized AC unit could also cycle on and off too fast without sufficiently removing humidity from the air, thus leaving you feeling cool yet moist.

On the other hand, an AC that’s too small for your room will work overtime trying to cool down your space, thus consuming more energy without fully performing the job.

A properly sized AC matched to the unique needs of your house will not only keep you comfy as it can also aid you to save on your energy bills.

Since there’s not really a simple answer to the question of “What size air conditioner do I need?”, We always advise you to get a professional assessment of your household. Acquiring professional help is also important to get extra comfort and minimize energy consumption.


Understanding your requirements is the key to working out which type of AC will work best for your situation.

For small office type and domestic applications, the “installed” choice will always come down to either window ACs, floor and wall mounted split systems. Faced with your selection, if your wallet can afford a wall or floor mounted split AC, then it is the version to choose from since they normally have more functionality and are invariable quieter compared to window ACs.

On the other hand, if you’ve got planning restrictions that preclude the placement of an external condenser on or near your space then try to consider wall mounted or floor mounted ACs.

Now, if you’re seeking a very efficient heating source as well as cooling capacity, then you should really consider getting an AC unit that comes with a heat pump. This usually means that your selection is restricted to split systems, although floor and wall mounted AC also comes with heat pumps.

If you want to have a movable asset, for example, if you’re just renting your property, then mobile AC units are ideal choices.

Furthermore, make sure you work out how powerful you need your air conditioner to be since there are a number of web tools dedicated to determining how powerful and AC you need based on where you live as well as the size of the area to be cooled.

Your budget is also a huge consideration. While upfront buy costs can differ, it is worthwhile considering the on-going running expenses for the machine you’ll pick. And lastly, determine your likely usage. Reverse cycle AC are well-suited for both cooling and heating homes are particularly useful in climates that fluctuate between extreme seasons.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about the types of AC you should get based on your needs is all discussed and listed above. If you’re still a little bit confused, please feel free to comment down your concerns below, and we’ll surely try to get back on you as soon as possible.

Stay cool!


Virendar Singh is a 20-year-old Blogger from Uttarakhand, India, he loves to play with gadgets and likes to write reviews on best tech products. Learn more about us here.

4 thoughts on “8 Types of Air Conditioner and How AC Works”

  1. It’s good to know that the recommended air conditioning unit for people living in small apartments or homes is the window air conditioners because it is cheap, can cool a room efficiently, and can be moved between rooms. My boyfriend and I just started renting a small apartment downtown that’s near both our offices. Since summer is coming soon, perhaps we should get this type of AC installed in our new home. Thanks for this article!


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