8 Main Parts of an Air Conditioner and Their Uses

An air conditioner is an integral part of our daily lives because it not only helps to maintain a perfect level of humidity and temperature but also improves the quality of air in the house. This unit works by circulating filtered, clean air into the house.

But for you to be sure that your air conditioner is functioning properly, you need to know how each of its parts works. Continue reading to know the main parts of an air conditioner and their roles.

Outdoor Parts of an Air Conditioner

A typical air conditioner features two major units: outdoor and indoor units. The outdoor unit hosts essential parts that enable the system to run smoothly. Here are some of the main parts of the outdoor air conditioning unit:

1. Compressor


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The compressor is an important part of an air conditioner because it transforms the refrigerant in the system in order to cool your house. It changes the refrigerant from its liquid form to gas. This helps to increase the system’s pressure and temperature.

But as the refrigerant moves through the system, it is changed back into the liquid form by discharging the enhanced pressure so that it can easily be condensed into a liquid. As the refrigerant enters the indoor unit, it is turned into gas in order to absorb heat from your house. This cycle is repeated as many times as possible until you get the temperature you need in the house.

It is important to make sure that your air conditioner’s compressor is functioning optimally all the time because its failure will stop the cooling cycle. If the compressor breaks down, it should be repaired or replaced immediately.

2. Condenser Coil

Condenser Coil

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A condenser coil helps to cool down the refrigerant in its gas form, especially when it has been pressured. As this gas leaves the compressor, it is turned into liquid by the coil. Therefore, the condenser coil is an integral part of the air conditioner because it removes heat from the gas and transfers it to the evaporator coil in the indoor unit.

3. Expansion Valve

Expansion Valve

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Once the refrigerant has been compressed, it moves through the unit under very high pressure. So, the expansion valve is important because it reduces this pressure as the refrigerant leaves the compressor. This function is essential because it ensures the unit continues to run smoothly and efficiently.

The expansion valve works together with the compressor and condenser coil to ensure the gas and liquid continue moving around the system in order to cool down your house.

4. Fan


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The main purpose of a fan in an air conditioner is to discharge heat from the house when it passes the condenser coil. It is important to note that there are two main fans in an air conditioner. The outdoor fan pulls heat and hot air out of the house while the indoor fan sends cool air from the return vents through the evaporator coil and into the ventilation system.

Indoor Parts of an Air Conditioner

The indoor air conditioning unit should be mounted onto the wall, and consists of the following parts:

5. Evaporator Coil

Evaporator Coil

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The evaporator coil is normally linked to the condenser coil in the outdoor unit to enable the refrigerant to absorb heat from your house. This evaporator coil is usually made from steel or copper because they are the best heat conductors. This is the point at which the refrigerant coming from the condenser coil is transformed from the liquid form to gas.

The gas then absorbs heat from your house and transports it back to the condenser coil where the whole cooling cycle will be repeated again. To ensure the evaporator coil remains safe and effective, you have to clean it routinely. If the coil is clogged, your air conditioning system will consume more energy or break down.

6. Filters


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Filters are important components in any AC unit because they stop dust and allergens from getting into your house. Without air filters, you and your loved ones will be at risk of breathing impure and unsafe air. It is therefore important to check the condition of your AC’s filters continuously to make sure the quality of air in your house is not compromised.

You should also make sure the filters are cleaned routinely and the ones that are damaged repaired or replaced immediately. Cleaning your filters helps to get rid of any buildup of debris and dust. It also helps the entire system to run more smoothly and without consuming excess energy.

7. Ducts


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Ducts in an air conditioner are important because they are the ones that allow air and heat to travel to and from your house. The heated and cool air is pushed in and out of the house through separate ducts. It is important to check your AC ducts regularly because faulty ducts can cause increased energy consumption, leakages, and discoloration of walls and ceilings.

If you don’t know how to clean your air ducts thoroughly, hiring a professional service, such as Purebreath, to maintain your duct is the best choice. Visit their website to learn more about the duct cleaning process.

8. Thermostat


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Every air conditioning system has a thermostat that enables you to set your preferred temperature on your air conditioning system. Fortunately, most of the latest ACs have thermostats that can be regulated remotely for convenience. You can use the thermostat to save energy in your house by setting different levels of temperature and choosing specific rooms to be air-conditioned.

How the Refrigeration Cycle Works

For me to be able to explain the inner workings of an air conditioner, I have to talk about the two laws of physics: combined gas law and the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

How the Refrigeration Cycle Works

· Combined Gas Law

This law relates to the relationship between pressure and temperature. It combines Boyle’s Law, Gay-Lussac’s Law, and Charles’s Law. Boyle’s law states that the pressure-volume product is constant, while Charles’s law indicates that the volume is relative to the absolute temperature. Gay-Lussac’s law, on the other hand, states that the pressure is relative to the absolute temperature.

Put simply, the Combined Gas Law states that when you heat up gas, the pressure also increases and vice versa. For instance, when your car tire heats up when pumping it with air, the temperatures increase with pressure. An air conditioner uses the same law by increasing and reducing the pressure of the refrigerant to lower or increase the temperature.

· 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

The 2nd law of thermodynamics says that heat is naturally transferred from hot to cold objects. This law further indicates that heat can only be transferred from a cooler object to a hotter body through external work.

Therefore, an air conditioner is designed to transfer heat from indoors to outdoors. Although it may appear like an AC produces cold air, it actually extracts heat from the air in your house and pushes it outside.

· Refrigeration Cycle of an Air Conditioner

Every air conditioning unit uses a thermodynamic cycle referred to as the refrigeration cycle. This cycle involves the transformation of the refrigerant from its liquid form to gas and vice versa in order to enable the system to remove heat from the air in your house.

The refrigerant is the coolant, which absorbs heat from the air and moves it outside. The refrigeration starts when air flows over the evaporator coils. These coils contain cool a refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the indoor air. The liquid refrigerant is then transformed into gas, which is then compressed by the compressor to increase its temperature and pressure.

Considering the 2nd law of thermodynamics, the refrigerant needs to be warmer than the cold outdoor air. There the heat in the refrigerant will be able to flow outside where the air is cooler. The warm refrigerant is then condensed in the condenser coil. The fan blows outdoor air over the condensed refrigerant to remove heat from it.

Once the refrigerant has lost heat, it is condensed back into a liquid and is pumped back into the compressor to repeat the same cycle. The refrigerant is also depressurized to enable it to lose the heat because it has to be cooler than the indoor air in order to draw heat from the house.

What is the Role of the Outdoor Unit of Your AC in the Cooling Process?

The outside unit of your air conditioner plays an important role in getting rid of excess heat from your home and supplying you with cool air. Also known as the condenser unit, this outside unit is responsible for releasing heat into the air outside your house. So, without this outside unit, the heat that is drawn from your house won’t have anywhere to go.

To carry out the heat exchange and cooling process effectively, the outside unit must have all the essential units, including the compressor, condenser coils, fans, and refrigerant line. Because this unit is exposed to all kinds of elements, it requires special care and regular maintenance. Therefore, make sure to check the condition of your AC’s outdoor unit routinely.

Tips for Taking Care of an Air Conditioner


An air conditioner plays an important role in keeping you and your loved ones cool when temperatures rise.

Therefore, you need to take good care of your AC to ensure it continues to serve you effectively for many years. Here are some simple tips for taking care of an air conditioner.

1. Annual tune-up: An annual tune-up of an air conditioner is important because it keeps the unit running optimally without consuming a lot of energy. This involves tightening all power connections, lubricating the fans, and cleaning the entire system.

2. Replacing air filters: An air conditioner has a filter to prevent dust, debris, and allergens from getting into the system and your house. If the air filters are clogged, the entire system will break down or consume more energy than it should.

3. Cleaning return ducts: Never forget to clean the return ducts of your AC because they can easily become clogged with dust, lint, and other debris. If these ducts are not cleaned, they will shorten the lifespan of your system.

4. Check pipe installation: Always check the pipe installation of your air conditioning system to ensure it is not torn or disintegrated. Check the insulation that covers the coolant pipes every summer and repair or replace them if necessary.

5. Give It a break: Even the toughest machines need a break. So, go easy on your air conditioner by using it moderately and switching it off when it’s not in use. If keep your AC running throughout, it will lose efficiency and increase your utility bills.

6. Clean the outside compressor: The outside compressor is an important part of the AC, and therefore it needs to be cleaned routinely to avoid clogging. Fortunately, this component can be cleaned by your AC professional during the annual tune-up.

7. Inspect wiring: Always check the wiring of your AC, especially in the condensing unit, to make sure the unit doesn’t overheat or weaken. Don’t forget to turn the power off before you begin the inspection to avoid electrocution.

In Summary

If you are planning to invest in a reliable air conditioning system, I believe this article has provided you with useful information about the main parts of an air conditioner and their roles. I also hope that you now understand clearly how ACs work and how you can take care of your system in order to improve its longevity and performance.

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