Do Air Conditioners Take in Air from Outside?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

Do Air Conditioners Take in Air from Outside

We hardly even think of air conditioning systems or how the AC works in our homes, offices, workplaces and everywhere else we go normally. We take it for granted that the AC runs and our indoor spaces are comfortable. What are the basics about how an AC unit and the HVAC system in all work? Where does the air for the air conditioning come from? Some assumptions about air conditioners and how they really work are right, some are mistaken. One basic question it helps to understand is, do air conditioners take in air from outside?

Where Does an AC Unit Get Air?

A typical assumption is an air conditioner takes outside air in and that is the air circulating through a home. While certain parts of an AC or HVAC are outside, the system isn’t bringing in outside air. Instead, an AC sends heat outside with a heat pump. The heat pump reverses the air movement and eliminates the heat from your space. Then it pumps the warmer air out of the structure.

It’s helpful to know some basics about AC units. This includes:

  • Do not remove moisture from the air
  • Make the air in your space cooler by removing heat
  • Are not bad for your health
  • Do not cause global warming

Air conditioning systems function by removing heat from the air in a space. This makes the air cooler, but an AC can’t make the air too much of a cooler temperature. Actually, if you set a thermostat too cold, it may result in the system not working and the air being warmer in your home.

Air conditioners are beneficial for your health. They help boost your health and wellness by removing heat from the air and making your space much easier to live, work and sleep in.

The air circulating in an AC unit is simply the air from in your house or building. It is circulated and cooled repeatedly by your air conditioning unit. Your air conditioning unit takes the heat out of this air and pumps it outside through the heat pump. The air goes through refrigerant to cool it before moving into the return air intake. The air goes through a filter which takes out dust, debris and harmful pollutants, then it’s released out into the living areas.

Why You Don’t Want a Lot of Outdoor Air in Your AC

That ACs don’t work with a great deal of “fresh” outside air is important, especially for those who struggle with pollen allergic reactions. Bringing in outdoors air can cause the threat of a high pollen count and contaminants that can be hazardous to your health. By recirculating the air currently present in your interior, you can guarantee it has a low level of pollen and dust. It is filtered consistently by your air conditioning system.

One more advantage of not bringing in outdoor air is it can help keep energy expenses down. When AC brings in outside air, it has to run harder to cool it to the temperature you set. This utilizes more energy and costs more money. By not starting with outdoor air, the AC can reuse the air currently present in your space, saving you money on energy.

Overall, not using outdoors air is a very good thing for your health and budget. By keeping the air inside your home filtered and free from pollen and other particulates, you limit allergic reactions, health effects and save on bills.

How to Help Keep Clean Air

Although an AC has built-in air filters, there are still more actions and upkeep to keep in mind and do on a routine basis. A few simple steps helps keep a system working longer and better. They will keep the indoor air quality healthy for you and your family. Here are some step you can take to maintain the quality and cleanliness of air in your home.

Filter Changes or Cleaning

Your air conditioning unit filters air continuously to filter out dirt, plant pollen, mold, and particulates from the air you’re breathing. So, it is very important to stay on schedule with cleaning or replacing air filters according to the specific instructions with your system or products.

Professional Maintenance

Minor or significant defects in an AC system can change the quality of the air you are breathing. Getting your system inspected and maintained by a pro technician on a regular basis will make sure the system is functioning and efficient. Most technician services mean cleaning the unit, so you do not have to stress over doing this yourself. Regardless of how minor this job might appear, you can save a lot money and problems in the future as this stops major system failures.

There are important benefits from having your air conditioning serviced and checked by a technician. Apart from knowing your system is working properly, you can be comfortable knowing you have clean and safe air inside your home. This is specifically important if you have kids in your home since they are more prone to breathing problems. Additionally, regular maintenance can also prolong the life of your AC system. So if you want to get the most out of your investment, make certain to have it examined and serviced by a certified service technician consistently.

Open your Windows

It may help to open windows from time to time, for a controlled period of time, and let some outside air in. This will let air flow in, replacing the recirculating air, for a little while. Air that has been cycled many times without replacement can lose oxygen. Allowing outside air in will be fresher, oxygen-rich air. The AC system can handle filtering and cooling new air sometimes.


At South End Heating and Air we are Charlotte’s affordable AC experts. Call us anytime for a free consult and free estimate. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? Give us a call 704-684-5339.

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