While air conditioners have hundreds of parts, there are certain components of which every homeowner should have a basic understanding. This knowledge will help you understand the importance of routine maintenance, and it will help you identify potential problems to your HVAC professional. Following are seven essential air conditioner parts:
- Thermostat. Just like any cooling or heating system, an A/C absolutely needs temperature control. That’s where a thermostat comes in. You set the temperature you want, and when your indoor air gets hotter than that desired temperature, it kicks on the A/C. Increasingly, homeowners are installing programmable thermostats in order to obtain a higher level of convenience and energy savings.
- Air filter. Since an air conditioner is a forced-air cooling system, it requires an air filter that removes particulates from the air before it enters the actual A/C equipment via return ductwork.
- Evaporator coil. Air conditioning works as a direct result of the ease with which a chemical substance (refrigerant) transitions from a gas to a liquid and back again, and does so at a very low temperature. Each time the refrigerant makes that transition, heat energy is either absorbed (as refrigerant changes from a liquid to a hot gas as pressure is eased) or released (as under pressure, the gaseous refrigerant changes back into a liquid). The refrigerant-filled evaporator coil, located inside the house in a split-system A/C, creates cool air by extracting heat from the air.
- Condenser coil. Located outside with the compressor, this is where the refrigerant changes back into a liquid after being compressed, or squeezed, by the compressor. When that happens, the heat that was collected inside the house via the evaporation process is released into the air.
- Compressor. The compressor also serves as the pump that moves the refrigerant through the system.
- Fan. A fan in the condenser/compressor blows across the condenser coil and removes heat energy as it’s released by the refrigerant.
- Blower. Another fan inside the house blows across the evaporator coil, expediting the heat-exchange process and then distributing cool air throughout the house. In cold-winter climates, it’s usually the furnace blower.
For more help understanding how air conditioner parts work together to cool your Northwest Arkansas home, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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