Air conditioning (often referred to as A/C or AC) is the process of altering the properties of air (primarily temperature and humidity) to more comfortable conditions, typically with the aim of distributing the conditioned air to an occupied space such as a building or a vehicle to improve thermal comfort and indoor air quality. In common use, an air conditioner is a device that lowers the air temperature. The cooling is typically achieved through a refrigeration cycle, but sometimes evaporation or free cooling is used. Air conditioning systems can also be made based on desiccants.
In the most general sense, air conditioning can refer to any form of technology that modifies the condition of air (heating, cooling, (de-)humidification, cleaning, ventilation, or air movement). However, in construction, such a complete system of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is referred to as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC-as opposed to AC).