Air conditioning units contain refrigerants that convert from a gas to a liquid and back again during the refirgeration process. This refrigerant transfers heat from inside to outside.
Most air conditioning systems have three main parts, a compressor, a condenser and an evaporator.
The compressor and condenser are usually located on the outside part of the system. The evaporator is located on the inside.
The compressor (the heart of the system) acts as a pump, causing the refirgerant to flow through the system.
The working fluid arrives at the compressor as a cool, low-pressure gas. The compressor squeezes the fluid. This packs the molecule of the fluid closer together. The closer the molecules are together, the higher its energy and its temperature.
The working fluid leaves the compressor as a hot, high pressure gas and flows into the condenser.
When the working fluid leaves the condenser, its temperature is much cooler and it has changed from a gas to a liquid under high pressure. The liquid goes into the evaporator through a very tiny, narrow hole. On the other side, the liquid's pressure drops. When it does it begins to evaporate into a gas.
As the liquid changes to gas and evaporates, it extracts heat from the air around it. The heat in the air is needed to separate the molecules of the fluid from a liquid to a gas.
The evaporator also has metal fins to help in exchange the thermal energy with the surrounding air.
By the time the working fluid leaves the evaporator, it is a cool, low pressure gas. It then returns to the compressor to begin its trip all over again.
Connected to the evaporator is a fan that circulates the air inside to blow across the evaporator fins. Hot air is lighter than cold air, so the hot air in the room rises to the top of a room.
There is a vent there where air is sucked into the air conditioner and goes down ducts. The hot air is used to cool the gas in the evaporator. .
This continues over and over and over until the room reaches the temperature you want the room cooled to. The thermostat senses that the temperature has reached the right setting and turns off the air conditioner. As the room warms up, the thermostat turns the air conditioner back on until the room reaches the temperature.