An air conditioner is invaluable for getting through the hot San Diego and Encinitas summers comfortably. Because your A/C is so important, it’s worth taking the time to get familiar with how it works. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be to plan maintenance, component replacements, and upgrades.
- Evaporator coil – Located in or near your indoor air handler, this component receives cold refrigerant from the expansion valve. As the refrigerant flows through the coil, it absorbs heat from the passing air.
- Blower fan – This large fan inside the air handler draws air over the evaporator coil to be cooled, then blows the cooled air into the air ducts and out into your rooms.
- Air filter – Before entering the ductwork, air passes through a filter that removes contaminants such as lint and pollen. Filters that carry a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 4 or less protect your system from debris, but filters with MERVs of 5 to 11 also improve your indoor air quality. The filter must be changed on schedule to ensure sufficient airflow and system efficiency.
- Compressor – This pump moves refrigerant through copper tubing from the evaporator coil to the outdoor condenser coil. It also raises the refrigerant’s pressure and temperature.
- Condenser coil – As the refrigerant passes through this coil, located in your outdoor unit, it releases the heat it absorbed from your house into the outdoor air. It then flows back indoors and into the expansion valve, which relieves pressure on the refrigerant and thereby cools it.
- Condenser unit fan – This fan blows outdoor air over the condenser coil to cool the refrigerant faster. To help this fan run efficiently, keep your outdoor unit’s exterior free of debris such as dead leaves.
- Thermostat – Installed on a wall in your home, this component controls how often the air conditioner runs based on the temperature you select. A programmable thermostat can automatically change the temperature setting based on a schedule you set in advance.
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