Parts of Your Air Conditioner
Air conditioning is credited for helping extend life expectancy and world changing advances in medicine. But the technology comes with a few pitfalls.
Window units plug into a window and can cool a single room. These are the cheapest and lightest ACs, but require regular maintenance.
The evaporator is the part of your air conditioning system that actually cools the air inside your home. This is because the evaporator coil is designed to absorb heat from your indoor air and pass that warmth to the refrigerant.
When your air conditioner is running, the compressor sucks cold, low-pressure liquid refrigerant into the evaporator coil. Your evaporator coil is made up of a series of U-shaped tubes and metal “fins” that help to increase the surface area for heat transfer.
As the evaporator coil absorbs heat from your indoor air, it changes from an 80% liquid/20% vapor to 100% vapor. This process is called latent heat transfer because the refrigerant’s temperature increases without a corresponding increase in its internal energy.
At this point the refrigerant passes through the expansion valve (or TXV). A better quality expansion valve will have an advanced control to help to regulate how much of the refrigerant is released to the evaporator, thus improving your air conditioning system’s energy efficiency.
From the evaporator coil, the refrigerant travels through insulated tubing to the outdoor air conditioning component that houses both the condenser and compressor coils. The refrigerant is now exposed to the warm outdoor air, which it Air conditioner robs of its heat through condensation. The refrigerant then returns to your home’s evaporator coil as a superheated vapor and repeats the cooling cycle.
The condenser is a major part of your air conditioner. It takes the heat that was carried from your house and turns it into a gas that gets pumped back outside for cooling. It’s also one of the most expensive parts of your system.
Refrigerant exits your evaporator coil in gas form, and it enters the compressor where it’s packed more tightly together to increase its pressure and temperature. As it goes through the compressor, the refrigerant will also be converted into a superheated state before it moves to the condenser where it’s cooled back down into liquid form.
Keeping the condenser unit clear of debris and grass clippings is essential to maintain optimum heat transfer efficiency. The fan in the condenser unit carries the hot air away from the coil, and the cooling coil has either copper tubing with aluminum fins or all-aluminum coils. Copper coils are more costly but offer greater durability and longevity than aluminum ones.
While you can perform some condenser maintenance, such as spraying off the unit with a garden hose, it’s usually best to leave this to professional technicians. If you try to do this on your own, you could damage the cooling fins and cause a leak. An expert technician can identify and fix a variety of issues before they become serious problems.
The compressor is the heart of all AC units, no matter their shape or size. It’s the part that raises the temperature and pressure of the vapor refrigerant that leaves the condenser coil, which enables it to flow to the low-pressure evaporator coils and produce cool air.
The rotor in the compressor spins to control two pistons that move conversely up and down, driven by the crankshaft. As the pistons move, they compress air in the suction manifold to create a high-pressure, gaseous state. A valve on each side of the compressor opens and closes based on the pressure in the manifold. As the compression process continues, a vacuum is created on one side of the compressor that pulls air in through the suction valve. The compressed air is then pushed out through the discharge valve, creating a lower-pressure vapor that flows to the evaporator coils.
In addition to the rotary screw compressor, there are also reciprocating and oil-free compressors. Most AC systems use a rotary screw compressor because they offer fewer moving parts, which means they last longer and operate more efficiently than other types of compressors. Rotary screw compressors also don’t have a drier (like other compressors that allow liquid to travel through the system) that requires regular replacement because moisture can damage the compressor.
The thermostat is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home, controlling both heating and cooling. It is also one of the most complex, with many different features and technologies inside it.
The thermostat controls the flow of energy to your air conditioning system, and its location can have a big impact on how well it works. It should be placed in a spot where it can easily reach the rooms that it Air conditioner will regulate, but not so close that air moving through the room will change temperatures quickly and make it difficult for the thermostat to read accurately. It should also be away from direct sunlight and not in a drafty area.
Depending on the model of thermostat, it may use a digital display or a small switch or button that cycles between heating and cooling options. The old-fashioned mercury switch thermostats have a small vial of liquid mercury mounted on a metal strip that bends and unbends according to temperature. When the lever is moved to turn the heat on, the mercury tips and electricity flows through a coil that is connected to the heater.
Some thermostats are programmable, so you can set the time that you want it to go to sleep and wake up. This helps conserve energy by ensuring that the system won’t be running when no one is at home.