Do you know how your air conditioner works?
The average homeowner isn’t going to be an expert on air conditioner technology, but it’s helpful to at least have a general idea of how they function. Understanding the anatomy of air conditioner systems can prove useful when contemplating your A/C repair or installation options.
To help our Tampa Bay area customers gain a better understanding of their home’s most important appliance, below is a basic anatomy of air conditioner parts.
- Refrigerant. This is the key substance that makes air conditioning possible. The refrigerant absorbs heat from inside the house and transfers that heat to the outside air.
- Compressor. The compressor is the literal motor that drives the cooling process. It is located in your outdoor A/C unit, and serves to compress the refrigerant and push it through the system.
- Condenser coil. The condenser coil is also located outside, along with the compressor. It looks similar to a car radiator, and performs the same function: releasing heat to the outside air. The heat comes from the compressed refrigerant gas, which condenses to a liquid as it cools.
- Expansion valve. The liquid refrigerant flows to the indoor A/C unit, where it passes through an expansion valve. As the name suggests, this allows the compressed refrigerant to expand.
- Evaporator coil. The indoor evaporator coil performs the reverse function of the condenser coil. Since the refrigerant is no longer pressurized, it quickly evaporates back into a gas. The evaporation process absorbs heat from the indoor air.
- Tubing. Two tubes connect the outdoor and indoor A/C units. One carries the liquid refrigerant indoors, while the other carries the evaporated refrigerant back out to the compressor.
- Fans. The two coils each have fans to blow air through them (and, for the evaporator coil, to blow the air throughout the house).
- Thermostat. The thermostat simply acts as a switch to turn the A/C on or off, and thereby regulate your home’s temperature.