How Does Air Conditioning Work? Ways To Explain the Process to Your Child


On those hot summer days, everyone appreciates the benefit of air conditioning. As inquisitive youth get a little older, they may want a thumbnail sketch of how it all works. If your experience with A/C is little more than just pressing buttons and turning knobs, you might not be able to answer those questions! Here’s a little rundown of just what is going on to keep your vehicle or home comfortable.

Creating the Cold

Air conditioning systems use a coolant material that is pressurized to create cold air. It’s a specialized gas with a high tolerance for the extremes it will be facing. The compressor in your vehicle or home system puts this material under pressure like air inside a tire, forcing it through lines that carry it into the duct system.

Making the Cold Air

Inside the ductwork of your home or vehicle is a structure called the coil. This circulates the cold material from the compressor and puts it in front of the air moving through the ductwork. The process turns the warm air into cold air as it passes over the coil and moves into the house or vehicle.

Moving the Cold Air

Your system has a powerful fan that pushes air through the ductwork back into the house. Along the way, the air moves across those cold coils to make it colder. In this way, your home is constantly recirculating the same air. There are also filters in the system that clear away the dust and other debris that move through the house.

Determining How Cold It Gets

Your home has a thermostat where you set a preferred temperature. Tied in with that thermostat is a thermometer. The unit is constantly comparing those two readings, and when the temperature is higher than your chosen thermostat setting, the thermostat sends a signal to the rest of the system to send cold air. For years, cars had a setting for a relative temperature, but now they feature thermostats just like homes. These even include different settings for each of the front seats.

After explaining the process of A/C, you can also explain to your child that experts work on residential air conditioning installation. People study how to install these units into homes, helping countless individuals. This is a great way to introduce your child to a job they might want someday! 

Your air conditioning system is very complicated, but you can break it down to a level that your kids can understand. Avoid the urge to brush them off with a quick answer. Instead, take advantage of their curiosity. You can help your child learn about more than just staying cool.

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