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How an Air Conditioner Works: 7 Parts You Need to Know

Air conditioners are complex machines that manipulate refrigerant to cool your Fresno home. If one component of the air conditioner isn’t functioning correctly, it can affect other parts or the entire air conditioner. To enjoy maximum cooling efficiency this season, it helps to know how an air conditioner works so you may better identify problems and realize the importance of maintenance.

Basics of Air Conditioning

The following are seven important air conditioner parts you should know:

  1. Thermostat – The thermostat is the device you use to set the temperature for your home. When the thermostat detects room temperature a few degrees above your setting, the air conditioner kicks into action.
  2. Blower – The blower pulls household air through return grilles and ducts.
  3. Air filter – An air filter captures airborne particles in return airflow.
  4. Evaporator – The blower pulls airflow across the cold evaporator coil, where refrigerant removes heat.
  5. Compressor – The refrigerant flows into a compressor located outside the home. The compressor squeezes the refrigerant in preparation to release the concentrated heat.
  6. Condenser – Refrigerant is pumped into the condenser coil under very high pressure.
  7. Fan – A fan in the outdoor cabinet blows the heat from the condenser into outside air.

Home Cooling Tips

You may have noticed that free airflow plays a vital role in maximizing cooling efficiency. You can help your air conditioner perform better through the summer by checking the air filter regularly. The air filter protects the blower motor and evaporator coil from dirt accumulation. Even a fine layer of dirt on the evaporator degrades cooling efficiency and can cause it to ice up. If the blower motor becomes bogged down with dirt and grime, it can fail early as indicated by a grinding noise.

Keep an eye on the outside cabinet for tall weeds as vegetation and other debris can block airflow to the condenser coil.

If you’re still using a standard digital thermostat, consider upgrading to a programmable thermostat for carefree savings.

To learn more about how an air conditioner works to keep your Fresno area home cool, please contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning for expert answers.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).