If you are new to cooling technology, you may wonder what is an AC unit. Many of the best air conditioners, after all, don’t exactly advertise the internal design. So what is an AC unit, how do they work, what is SEER in an air conditioner, and what types are available? Keep reading to find out what is a window air conditioner and every other variant.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • AC stands for air conditioning and AC units come in a wide variety of designs, each with different feature sets.
  • A portable air conditioner pulls in air from the outside and works to cool one room at a time.
  • Central air conditioners, also known as central air conditioning systems, cool the whole home at once, thanks to a compressor, a condenser, an outdoor unit, a heat pump, and various ducts.

Air Conditioners Defined

There is a lot to cover here, from answering what is a central AC system and beyond. First off, an air conditioner is an appliance that cools off an indoor space. They come in many designs if you are wondering what is a ventless air conditioner. Some AC units cool air from the outside and others, such as air handlers, transform indoor air if you look to compare swamp coolers vs air conditioners.

Insider Tip

No matter which type of AC you choose, be sure to replace or clean the air filters as indicated by the instructions.

So, yeah, an AC is anything that cools the air, if you want to know the definition of a package unit air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Types

From window units and beyond, we’ve got you covered with all of the definitions you need, even if you wonder what is a mechanical air conditioner.

Window Units

These are the standard AC designs that hang out of the back of windows, working to cool one room at a time. They are budget-friendly, easy to use, and rather effective, despite having to be pulled out each winter. On that note, these appliances are not the lightest on the block, so prepare for some exercise.

Portable Air Conditioners

These work similarly to window units, but they don’t hang out of windows. Rather, a vent attaches to the window to receive exterior air which leads to a duct that enters the air conditioner itself. As the name suggests, portable ACs are, well, portable. They often feature rollers to make it easy to move them from room to room with ease. Portable ACs are often more expensive than window units.

Central AC Units

If your entire house is being cooled via a single appliance it is a central AC unit. These ACs feature a large compressor and condenser located outside. Newly cooled air is pumped into the home via elaborate ductwork, though that is not always the case, as ductless designs do exist with modern central units.

F.A.Q.S

How do air conditioners work?

Every air conditioner, from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit, works with similar principles. The various types of air conditioners use a condenser coil to get the indoor temperatures lower than the outdoor temperatures.


What to know about central AC maintenance?

Make sure to keep the outdoor unit free from debris and clean the filters associated with your window air conditioners and any affiliated indoor unit. Keep the evaporator coil clean and don’t lose the remote control, even if you use a portable unit.


Which air conditioner is right for you?

It depends on personal preference as to which air conditioner you choose. Window air conditioners are great for small apartments, as is a standard portable air conditioner, also called an indoor unit. There are many types of air conditioners and air conditioning units to choose from.


STAT: HVAC stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. An HVAC unit is responsible for heating and cooling the air in your building, and provides ventilation to allow moisture to escape. (source)