Think of your air conditioner as the refrigerator for your house. Like a fridge, the system doesn’t actually add cold air; instead it cools your home by removing heat and moisture from the air. Learn more about how your air conditioning system works in this infographic, so you know what to do when it’s time for HVAC maintenance and repairs.
Main Parts of an Air Conditioner
Most central air conditioners are split systems that include indoor and outdoor components. The condenser and compressor are located outside of the home, while the evaporator coil is located inside.
- The evaporator coil has cold refrigerant running through it. Heat is remove from the air that is drawn over the coil’s cool surface.
- The condenser compresses and moves refrigerant through the system while also dissipating heat that builds up in the refrigerant as it’s compressed.
- The evaporator coil is paired with a furnace or air handler that circulates air throughout the home.
- Central air conditioners use a system of ducts and registers (grills in the walls, floors, or ceiling) to take in warm air and circulate cool air throughout the home.
How Air Conditioning Works
- The furnace of air hander fan pulls warm air from the home through a vent.
- The warm air passes over the chilled evaporator coil, which removes heat from the air and sends the cooled air back into the home through the ducts.
- The gas refrigerant in the evaporators coil is then pumped outside to the condenser unit.
- This unit sends refrigerant gas through the compressor, where the gas is condensed into a hot liquid. This hot refrigerant runs through tubing while helps it to cool on its way back to the evaporator coil.
- The liquid refrigerant arrives back inside at the evaporator coil, where it expands into gas and makes the coils cold, starting the cycle again.
Air Conditioner Tips
- Maintaining your air conditioning system will not only keep it running efficiently, it will also help it last longer.
- Regularly replacing your air conditioner’s air filter can lower your system’s energy use by 5 to 15 percent.*
- Using a ceiling fan with an air conditioner will let you raise the thermostat about 4 degrees and still keep you cool and comfortable.
HVAC Resources for Homeowners
- Heating and Air Conditioning Glossary
- Spring Maintenance for Your Air Conditioner
- How An Air Conditioner Tune Up Can Save Money
Are You Protected by a Home Warranty?
Homeowners who have HVAC coverage with their First American home warranty are protected from potentially higher repair and replacement costs when breakdowns happen to their covered system. Without home warranty coverage, homeowners can run into higher air conditioner repair bills, particularly when their home has a more efficient SEER-rated system, which can have larger and more expensive components. Be sure you have our HVAC home warranty coverage to protect your budget from costly repair and replacement expenses when your systems, or other covered appliances, unexpectedly fail.
*According to the U.S. Department of Energy