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Beyond the Thermostat | Air Conditioner Breakdown

Many of us use our air conditioners every day of the summer, but how well do we know the machine behind the thermostat? Though you likely picture the external unit in your yard when you think of your Air Conditioner, there is a lot more going on behind the walls. To familiarize yourself with the basics of the HVAC system, take a look at this schematic.

As you’ll notice, the exterior unit consists of 3 main components:

Compressor: Pulls in cool air and increases the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant and sends it to the evaporator coil.

Condenser coil: Removes heat from the refrigerant and sends it through the fan.

Fan: Expels the heat from the refrigerant into the outdoors.

Air Conditioning System Diagram

The internal structure is a bit more complicated and consists of hidden components and visible ones.

Hidden Components

Refrigerant Filled Tubing: Circulates refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units.

Evaporator Coil: Uses refrigerant to absorb heat from the air from the blower.

Air Handling Unit: Conditions and circulates the air.

Blower: Pulls hot air from the home into the return and across the evaporator coil.

Ducting: Carriers the cool air through the house, and brings warm air back through the AC Unit.

Visible Components

Return Air Vent: Where warm air inside the home is pulled in by the blower. These can be located close to the ceiling or jut out from the baseboard, either way it is important not to block the return vents.

Filter: Typically located in the return air duct or blower. The filter is a porous, paper-like material that removes solid particles from the air. Should be replaced every 3 months in an average household. You should replace more often in houses with pets or people with severe allergies.

Air Supply Vents: Where the cool air flows into the home for us to enjoy! These can be located on the ceiling, the wall, or the floor. It is important not to block these vents to ensure proper air flow.

As always, if you suspect there is a problem with your AC unit, please contact your friendly neighborhood Wenzel’s Heating & Air Conditioning representative.



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