Pat Kelly, Digital Marketing Manager
31 Jan : Updated 28 Nov ● 6 min read
An air conditioning unit is a valuable piece of equipment, especially during the warmer months when our homes can be hot, if not too hot.
Whether you're looking to purchase air conditioning for your home and want to understand how each component works, or you currently own an air conditioner and need spare parts to repair your system, you're in the right place.
Here, we explore what each air conditioning part does, how they work, and how you can maintain them..
The coil contains a refrigerant/Gas and essentially acts as a heat exchanger - removing heat from the indoor air and allowing the other components of the air conditioner to cool the room.
Read our full guide on evaporator coils for more information.
When you turn your air conditioning unit on, the indoor component pulls in warm air from the room through a fan. This warm air passes over the evaporator coil and reacts with the refrigerant, which is turned into a gas and blown back into the room to cool it. It then expels the warm air outside.
Keeping the evaporator coil clean is important to ensure it's always safe and efficient. If it is not kept clean, there is the possibility of higher energy usage and the risk of a breakdown.
If your air conditioning system is no longer blowing out cold air, it might be time to install a new evaporator coil, or you can read our expert guide on how to repair the evaporator coil.
The air conditioning system filters help clean and maintain good air quality by removing particles and pollutants that may circulate through your system.
The filters on an air conditioning unit act as a barrier - intercepting things like dust, pollen and pet hair. As well as keeping you safe from germs, the air filter also protects other parts of the air conditioning unit, like the evaporator coil.
You should replace or, at the very least, clean the filters inside your system regularly to eliminate the build-up of debris and dust. It will also help your overall air conditioning system to run more effectively.
Air conditioning compressors change the state of the refrigerant in the system to cool your home.
As the name suggests, compressors compress the refrigerant in gas form, increasing the pressure and temperature. As this gas travels through the system, the refrigerant turns back into a liquid. Once it's in the indoor unit, the refrigerant turns back into a gas, absorbs the heat from your home, and the cycle starts again.
You'll know if you have problems with the compressor because the cooling cycle will not work. To maintain the compressor, you should keep your system clean, including the coils and filters. You should also keep an eye on the refrigerant levels; if it's running out, this can put a strain on the compressor, affecting its performance.
The condenser coil removes the heat from the refrigerant before transporting it to the evaporator coil in the indoor section of the air conditioner.
Once the evaporator coil absorbs indoor heat, the refrigerant travels to the condenser coil - at this point, the refrigerant is hot. Once the refrigerant reaches the condenser coil, the hot air is released outdoors.
Next, a fan in the outdoor section of the unit pulls outdoor air across the condenser coil - helping to remove the heat from the refrigerant and changing it back to a liquid.
As the condenser coil sits in the part of the air conditioner that lives outside the home, you must keep the outdoor unit free of obstructions, like leaves and branches, that can disrupt the airflow. Additionally, you should have the whole air conditioning unit serviced regularly to ensure it's in good working order and that you can detect any issues before they get worse.
The air conditioning expansion valve has been designed to remove pressure from the refrigerant that has been built up by the compressor. The valve works alongside the compressor and condenser to keep the cycle of gas and liquid going, which will cool down your home as it does so.
The expansion valve helps to control the flow of the high-pressure refrigerant into the low-pressure evaporator coil. This pressure drop cools the refrigerant, which absorbs hot air through the evaporator coil, cooling the air.
You should undertake regular visual inspections of the whole AC system, including the expansion valve, to spot any signs of damage, leaks or corrosion. If you do notice any damage, you should contact a qualified HVAC technician to take a look.
The fan can be found in the outdoor unit; its main job is to release the heat from your home from the condenser coil.
As the refrigerant releases heat to the condenser coil, the fan blows outdoor air over the coil, helping to cool the refrigerant. The fan is crucial to the air conditioner's efficiency, as it operates in conjunction with other key components, like the condenser coil and compressor.
Ensuring the fan is clear and undertaking visual inspections before use will ensure the smooth running of the unit. If the fan breaks or one of its blades becomes damaged, you may hear a clunking sound, so keep an ear out for any unusual noises if you suspect something is wrong. You should also wipe the blades regularly to avoid the build-up of any dust on them.
Air conditioning refrigerant passes through the entire system as the different components do their jobs.
The refrigerant works in both liquid and gas forms and works to absorb heat before converting it into cool air as it passes through the system.
It is good practice to check for refrigerant leaks before and after you use your air conditioner. The signs of a leak include:
If you spot a leak, you should contact an HVAC technician immediately.
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