5 Major Parts of An Air Conditioner Simplified (Part 1)

Air conditioners are magical devices that enable a comfortable living experience. They maintain and regulate the indoor temperatures and make summers bearable for us. Air conditioners increase productivity, reduce indoor pollution and regulate indoor humidity. According to the Energy Information Association, 87% of US homes are equipped with air conditioners. Despite their use by a majority of the population, very few of us have an understanding of how ACs work.

Let us explore the 5 major components of a conventional air conditioning unit.

1. Refrigerant

  • Refrigerant is a working fluid that is used in the refrigeration cycle of an air conditioner. It is a special liquid that enables the AC to absorb heat from indoor air and cool down its temperature. It is also known as coolant or Freon which is its brand name. The refrigerant works in a closed-loop and dissipates heat from indoor to outdoor. During the entire refrigeration cycle, the refrigerant changes its state from high-pressure liquid to low-pressure gas and vice versa. This is how it carries and removes heat.

Refrigerant runs its course through the cooling tubes and coils of the air conditioners. These tubes are located in a way that they connect the inside unit to the outside unit. When the refrigerant comes in contact with the indoor air it absorbs heat and transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid.

  • The liquid travels through the cooling tubes to reach the outside unit which is also known as the condenser coil. There a fan blows hot air over the tubes and coils which causes the refrigerant to dissipate heat and return back to the gaseous state. The now cold refrigerant then moves through tubes and coils and reaches the indoor unit. An indoor fan blows air over the coils that are carrying the cold refrigerant. As a result, cold air circulates throughout the home. This cycle continues in a loop when an air conditioner is switched on.

2. Compressor

The second component of the air conditioning unit is the compressor. The compressor and refrigerant work in collaboration. The compressor increases the pressure on the refrigerant when it is in a gaseous state. Due to the increased pressure, the molecules gain kinetic energy and the temperature of the refrigerant increases. The logic behind pressurizing the refrigerant is to make it hotter than the outdoor air.

  • As per the law of energy, air flows from hot to cold regions, so does the refrigerant. The heated up refrigerant moves through the coils and reaches the outdoor units. Here it dissipates the absorbed heat and returns back to normal temperature.

3. Condenser Coil

The third major component is the condenser coil. It is the outdoor unit of the air conditioner in which the high-pressure liquid refrigerant circulates. The high-temperature refrigerant has absorbed the indoor heat and it moves through the condenser coil to dissipate the heat outdoors.

  • The condenser coil is equipped with a condenser fan that aids in the dissipation of heat from the refrigerant. When the refrigerant reaches the condenser coil, the heat flows from a body of higher temperature to the surrounding of lower temperature. The fan blows heat over the condenser coil. The mechanical energy of the air causes a rapid exchange of heat from the refrigerant to the surrounding air.

To keep your air conditioning unit in a good state, it is important to repair and maintain it periodically. Heritage Air Services provides air conditioner repair and maintenance services in Dallas County, Texas, and nearby areas. To get an estimate of our services, call us at 817-330-4156.


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