An air conditioner is an appliance that plays a vital role in keeping your home comfortable during the summer months. Its operation follows the same principle as the refrigerator in your kitchen. An air conditioner pulls heat out of your living spaces and releases it outside your home in order to cool it. It relies on the performance of different components working together smoothly to provide consistent comfort and achieve maximum efficiency.
In this blog, trusted cooling and heating service contractor Bill Reynolds Heating & Air Conditioning breaks down the working parts of an air conditioning system and the function and importance of each.
Key Components of an Effective Air Conditioning Unit
Here’s a look at the important components of your AC system and how each one works.
For your air conditioning system to distribute cool air throughout your house, it needs a thermostat. This small, temperature-sensitive device signals the whole unit when to start and stop. It allows you to decide when it turns on and the exact temperatures your home should be at at various times of the day. It plays a vital role in controlling the climate of your home year-round.
Modern thermostats are equipped with features that can help you program set temperatures without having to adjust the dial or press the buttons repeatedly. Smart thermostats, in fact, can be accessed via a mobile app, allowing you to control the temperatures anytime, anywhere. These devices are also equipped with back-end software that “learns” your habits and preferences over time through data analysis. Such advancements can help you reduce energy consumption, which will result in significant savings.
Fan and Fan Motor
Your home air conditioning system has two fans that are connected to motors. During operation, they push and pull air through the coils, ductwork and living spaces. They’re usually located inside the outdoor unit, drawing in and expelling the air during the refrigeration cycle.
The motors that connect to the fans are among the hardest-working parts of your air conditioner. However, they’re often subject to wear and tear that can lead to frequent repairs or replacements. Like most moving parts, fan motors should be oiled and cleaned during yearly air conditioning repair and maintenance visits to ensure their longevity and performance.
The compressor is among the most important components of your air conditioner because it’s at the heart of the system’s cooling cycle. It’s a large electric pump that draws cool, low-pressure refrigerant gas from the indoor unit, “squeezes” it by raising its temperature and pressure and pushes it out as a hot, high-pressure gas.
It’s also typically the noisiest internal component of the AC system, thanks to the piston and cylinder that powers it. Like the fans, it requires a thorough inspection to ensure it stays in good working condition and continues to facilitate the cooling cycle.
Condenser and Evaporator Coils
The coils inside the AC system play a crucial role in cooling your living spaces. The condenser coil, which is located inside the equipment’s outdoor unit, is responsible for facilitating heat transfer. The refrigerant, which comes out of the compressor as a high-pressure gas, moves through the coil to facilitate the dissipation of heat. The fan inside the outdoor unit vents the hot air to the outdoors.
When enough heat has been extracted from the condenser coil, the refrigerant, under high pressure, condenses and turns into a warm liquid. It then moves to the expansion valve, turning into a cool, low-pressure liquid. From there, it passes through the evaporator coil, which is located inside the equipment’s indoor unit. The pressure in the coils is much lower, causing the refrigerant to evaporate into a gas. For this to happen, heat drawn from the warm air inside your house is blown over the coils. Your home gets cooler as the heat gets transferred to the refrigerant. The now-chilled gas goes back to the compressor to repeat the cooling process all over again until your home reaches the desired temperature.
Your air conditioner has a filter that cleans the air circulating through it. Made of spun fiberglass material or pleated paper or cloth enclosed in a cardboard frame, it traps and holds many types of particulates and contaminants that could affect the health and comfort of everyone in your household. These include dust, dirt, pollen, mold, lint, hair, dander, bacteria and other microorganisms.
Air filters can get clogged with dust and dirt over time, restricting airflow and causing the equipment to work much harder.
This could even result in the loss of its cooling efficiency. Before it can lead to major headaches such as increased energy consumption, poor indoor air quality and premature component failure, make it a habit to clean or replace your air conditioner’s dirty filter.
The Importance of AC Maintenance
Any imbalance in one or more of the AC’s components can result in air that hasn’t been conditioned to the set temperature. Heavy usage over the summer months can also increase wear and tear, which can be exacerbated by other factors such as voltage fluctuations, temperature swings, pests and dirt. These can take a toll on your cooling equipment, which is why scheduling an annual maintenance check is vital to ensure all of its moving parts are in good working order.
Many homeowners, unfortunately, see it as a hassle, often avoiding it altogether until their cooling system breaks down completely. Enduring a hot summer day with malfunctioning AC equipment can be frustrating, and that’s something you don’t want to experience. When you neglect much-needed maintenance, your cooling equipment’s performance will decline steadily while your home’s energy consumption increases. If you want to save money and make it as energy-efficient as possible, annual maintenance is a must.
At Bill Reynolds Heating & Air Conditioning, our top-rated technicians will take the stress out of the process and find you a solution that meets your home’s needs and works with your budget. In addition to AC maintenance and repair services, we also provide furnace installation, indoor air quality checks and duct cleaning and sealing.
Give us a call at (440) 946-7863 or fill out our contact form to request a quote or schedule a service appointment.