Air Conditioning Explained: Does Your System Use Gas or Electricity?

Outdoor AC unit next to wooden fence

When it comes to cooling your home during the summer, there’s often some confusion about whether your air conditioning system runs on gas or electricity. Air conditioning units are electric systems, and they work in a fundamentally different way compared to gas-powered furnaces.

In this blog, we’ll discuss the inner workings of air conditioning systems, explore the available types, and help you make informed decisions about your home’s cooling needs.


Graphic of how an AC works

How Does an AC System Work?

An air conditioner works by removing heat from the inside of a building, leaving the interior cool and comfortable. This process relies on the refrigerant cycle:

  • Evaporation: The refrigerant starts as a low-pressure gas in the evaporator coil inside your home. Warm indoor air is blown over the coil, causing the refrigerant to evaporate and absorb heat.
  • Compression: The gas is then compressed by the compressor unit, which increases its temperature and pressure.
  • Condensation: The hot, high-pressure gas moves to the condenser coil located outside your home. Here, it releases the heat it absorbed from indoors.
  • Expansion: The liquid refrigerant is then passed through an expansion valve, which undergoes a rapid pressure drop, turning it back into a low-pressure gas.

As a result, the indoor air temperature decreases, providing a cooling effect. The cycle continues until the thermostat senses that the desired indoor temperature has been reached, at which point the air conditioner temporarily shuts off. When the indoor temperature rises again, the cycle restarts to maintain the desired level of cooling.

It’s important to note that air conditioners don’t consume refrigerant like fuel; they circulate it through the system repeatedly and are electric-powered systems.

Different Types of Air Conditioners

There are various types of AC units available. Choosing the right one for your home depends on factors like your home’s size, your budget, and your cooling needs.

It can be difficult to decide the best unit type for your home. Relying on a professional can help you make an informed decision. HVAC experts are trained to evaluate a property and homeowner’s needs to choose the ideal AC unit.

AC units include:

  • Central air conditioning: Central AC systems distribute cool air throughout your home via ducts and vents. They use a centralized compressor unit located outside.
  • Ductless mini-split: Ductless mini-split systems consist of an outdoor compressor unit and one or more indoor air-handling units. These units are connected by refrigerant lines and require no ductwork.
  • Heat pump: Heat pumps are versatile because they can both cool and heat your home. They work similarly to ACs but can reverse the refrigeration cycle to provide heating during winter.
  • Geothermal heat pump: Geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s stable temperature to exchange heat. They’re highly efficient but require installation expertise.
  • Window air conditioning: Window ACs are self-contained units that sit in a window or a hole in a wall. They draw in warm air, cool it, and then expel the heat outside.
  • Hybrid air conditioning: A hybrid AC system can switch between gas heating and electric cooling by working alongside a traditional furnace.
  • Portable air conditioning: A portable AC can be moved from room to room. It draws warm air into the unit and cools it to release refreshing air.
  • Floor-mounted air conditioning: For areas that have limited wall space, a floor-mounted AC system is ideal. They’re installed close to the floor and collect warm air, cool it, and fan it out.


Schedule AC Installation With Hopkins Air Conditioning

At Hopkins Air Conditioning, we can help you select the perfect air conditioning system for your home. Our experienced technicians can answer all your questions and ensure a hassle-free installation process.

We’ve been proudly improving homes in Palm Beach County since 1988. Hopkins Air Conditioning offers same-day service, financing options, and free estimates on replacement quotes.

Discover why we’re Florida’s favorite HVAC company by calling (561) 656-4870 to schedule your AC service.

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