The majority of homeowners do not know know exactly how their AC‘s work, or care how an AC works, just as long as it does work. If it fails, they call the repair people, meanwhile feverishly twiddling the thermostat controls and hoping for the best. But for those of us who do care how the air conditioning system works, a little understanding of the parts and processes involved is in order.
Most home AC’s are of the standard type, using a refrigerant, and the basic parts consisting of compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator coil. Of course there are variations on the theme, and other types of coolers entirely. For instance there are evaporative or swamp coolers that do not use refrigerant. There are also heat pumps, which are a sort of reversible AC, removing heat from your space or warming it up, according to your settings.
Whatever type system you have, it is a good thing to understand at least its basic operating principles. It is also a good thing to understand what you can do as far as maintenance to keep the system operating properly. It is important to have a good air conditioning technician available, just in case things do go wrong. Wherever you are, it would be wise to have the number of your local heating and air conditioning service quickly available. Modern systems, though highly reliable and very efficient, do sometimes need the services of a trained and qualified air conditioning professional.