Many people have central air conditioning, but few know how their system works. Understanding how your air conditioner works can help you troubleshoot problems with your unit, as well as communicate effectively with HVAC professionals in case air conditioning repair is needed.

air conditioning repair componentsYour air conditioner has four main parts: the compressor, the condenser, the expansion valve and the evaporator coil.

  • The compressor is found on the outside unit of the air conditioner and pumps refrigerant through the system in a continuous loop. Refrigerant, a chemical that converts continuously from a liquid state to a gas state and back again, enters the compressor as a low pressure, warm gas. The compressor squeezes the liquid until it turns into a high pressure, hot gas.
  • The condenser is also found in the outside unit. When the hot gas leaves the compressor, it enters the condenser, where it’s blown by the condenser fan over the finned coils. The refrigerant cools and changes from a hot gas to a hot liquid.
  • The hot liquid moves through a tiny hole at high pressure. It emerges on the other side as a low  pressure, cold mist.
  • The cold mist moves into the evaporator coil located in the indoor unit just above the furnace plenum. Warm air from your home moves across the evaporator coil to be cooled, and is then sent back into your home. The evaporator coil begins to heat up from the warm air, and the refrigerant is converted back into a warm vapor and moves back into the compressor, where the whole cycle repeats itself.
  • Your air conditioner use the same blower, fan and ducts as your furnace. The blower sends the cool air in the plenum throughout your home through the duct system.

Because the evaporator and condenser are sealed, air conditioning repair should be done by a qualified HVAC professional. Common problems that may require professional air conditioning repair include:

  • A condenser that doesn’t turn on.
  • Uneven cooling due to the distribution system being out of balance.
  • The system doesn’t cool your home due to a faulty compressor or low refrigerant levels.

Before you call for air conditioning repair, check your fuses, clean the air filter and remove any debris from the outdoor unit. These common problem spots often solve the issue before service is needed.

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Filed under: Air Conditioning Repair