How does air conditioning work?

Thinking of getting an air conditioner but not quite sure if it's the best option for your home? Read on for our guide to how an air conditioner works and alternatives to keep your house cool.


woman adjusting an air conditioner

Key steps 

  • Air con units use chemicals to cool the air.
  • They remove hot air outside and blow cooled air back into your home.
  • Air con alternative 1: keep curtains and windows shut when the sun is up.
  • Air con alternative 2: blow a fan over a bowl of ice.

In summer, air conditioning inside is a blessed relief, but how does air conditioning work? Here you can find a simple explanation of how an air conditioner works, as well as alternatives for keeping your house cool.

Air conditioning is great for keeping you cool in summer, but it can be expensive to install. For alternatives to traditional air conditioning, check out our tips on how to keep your house cool in summer.

What is air conditioning? A simple guide to understanding how air conditioning works

If you ever find yourself asking “how does air con work?” we’ve got all the information you need right here!

  1. A home AC unit uses special chemicals.
  2. These convert from gas to liquid and back again quickly. 
  3. They move from the compressor to the condenser.
  4. In the condenser they become cool.
  5. Hot air is sucked into the vents, and when it passes the chemicals the heat is extracted.
  6. Fans within the housing of your air conditioning unit circulate the air within your property.
  7. Hot air is removed outside while the cooled air is blown back into the house through ducts.
  8. The process repeats until the thermostat detects the air inside your home meets the required temperature.
  9. This is a great way to keep cool during the summer, but is it worth installing air con? Find out some budget-friendly alternatives to air conditioning below.
  10. While air conditioners will keep you cool in summer, an air purifier will help combat seasonal allergens. For more information, read our guide to air purifiers.

Do I need air con in my home? Budget-friendly alternatives to air conditioning units

While air con is a great way to ensure your home stays at a cool, optimum temperature during the summer, they can be expensive to install. Find some great low-cost alternatives below:

1. Stop the sun and hot air outside heating the rooms in your home

  • Keep curtains and windows shut while the sun is up.
  • In the evenings when there is a cool breeze, open the window to allow it to blow into your home.

 2. Create your own homemade air con with a fan and ice

  • Fill a large bowl with ice.
  • Ensure the bowl is large enough to hold the water once the ice has melted. 
  • Sit the bowl in front of a fan.
  • Switch the fan on.
  • As the ice melts, it will cool the air around the bowl. The fan will blow the cool air into your home.
  With this simple guide, we have answered questions like “how does AC work?” and we’ve introduced you to some simple alternatives to try out this summer. Stay cool!

Originally published