What is Cycle of Refrigeration in AC or Air Conditioner? Process

Discover how air conditioners work by exploring the cycle of refrigeration in AC. Learn about the components and stages involved in cooling your home, and get answers to common AC-related questions.

What is Cycle of Refrigeration in AC or Air Conditioner?

Air conditioners have become an essential part of modern living, particularly in hot and humid climates. While many of us enjoy the comfort of cool air during the scorching summer months, we often don’t think about how our AC units actually work. The answer lies in the cycle of refrigeration in AC or air conditioner, a complex process that involves multiple stages and components. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how air conditioners function by breaking down the cycle of refrigeration in AC.

Cycle of Refrigeration Process in AC or Air Conditioner

At its core, the cycle of refrigeration in AC is a process that involves the transfer of heat from one place to another. In an air conditioner, this process occurs as follows:

  • Compression: The cycle begins when a compressor in the AC unit compresses a refrigerant gas, such as Freon or R-410A, into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas.
  • Condensation: The compressed gas then moves to a condenser coil, where it releases heat and condenses into a high-pressure liquid.
  • Expansion: The high-pressure liquid is then passed through an expansion valve, which reduces its pressure and temperature.
  • Evaporation: The low-pressure, low-temperature liquid then moves to an evaporator coil, where it absorbs heat from the indoor air and turns into a low-pressure gas.
  • Return to Compression: The low-pressure gas is then returned to the compressor, and the cycle begins again.

Components of the AC Unit Involved in the Cycle of Refrigeration

Several components are involved in the cycle of refrigeration in AC. These include:

  • Compressor: As mentioned earlier, the compressor is responsible for compressing the refrigerant gas, which begins the cycle of refrigeration.
  • Condenser coil: The condenser coil allows the high-pressure gas to release heat and condense into a high-pressure liquid.
  • Expansion valve: The expansion valve reduces the pressure and temperature of the high-pressure liquid, allowing it to move to the evaporator coil.
  • Evaporator coil: The evaporator coil absorbs heat from the indoor air, turning the low-pressure liquid into a low-pressure gas.

How Does the Cycle of Refrigeration Cool Your Home?

As the low-pressure gas moves through the evaporator coil, it absorbs heat from the indoor air, causing the air to become cooler. This cooled air is then blown back into your home by a fan, creating a comfortable indoor temperature. Meanwhile, the absorbed heat is carried away by the refrigerant gas, which moves back to the compressor and begins the cycle of refrigeration once again.

Tips for Maintaining Your AC Unit

Regular maintenance can help keep your AC unit running smoothly and efficiently. Here are a few tips for maintaining your AC unit:

Change the air filter regularly: A dirty air filter can reduce the airflow in your AC unit, making it work harder to cool your home. Check your air filter once a month and replace it if it looks dirty or clogged.

Clean the condenser coil: Over time, the condenser coil can become covered in dirt and debris, which can reduce the efficiency of your AC unit. Use a soft brush or cloth to gently clean the condenser coil.

Schedule annual maintenance: Have a professional HVAC technician inspect and tune up your AC unit once a year. This can help catch potential issues before they become major problems.

Keep the area around your AC unit clear: Make sure there are no obstructions around your AC unit, such as shrubs or debris. This can help ensure proper airflow and reduce the risk of damage to your unit.

By following these tips and understanding the cycle of refrigeration in AC or air conditioner, you can keep your AC unit running efficiently and effectively, keeping you cool and comfortable all summer long.


Understanding the cycle of refrigeration in AC or air conditioner is crucial to understanding how your AC unit works. By following this process of compression, condensation, expansion, and evaporation, air conditioners are able to remove heat from indoor air and create a more comfortable living space. Remember, proper maintenance of your AC unit is essential to keeping it running smoothly and efficiently. By taking care of your AC unit, you can enjoy the benefits of cool air during the hottest months of the year.

FAQs on Cycle of Refrigeration in AC or Air Conditioner

What type of refrigerant is used in air conditioners?

Environment-friendly refrigerants have been used. Most air conditioners use refrigerant gas such as Freon or R-410A, R134a, R407c, etc.

Can air conditioners run out of refrigerant?

Yes, over time, air conditioners can lose refrigerant due to leaks. When this happens, the AC unit may not cool your home as effectively, and you may notice higher energy bills.

How often should I replace my AC unit?

The lifespan of an AC unit can vary depending on factors such as usage and maintenance. However, most units last between 10 and 15 years.


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