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 air conditioner 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.