Understanding the Components of an Air Conditioner and How They Function

Air conditioners are complex machines that require several components to work together in order to keep your home cool and comfortable. The four main components of an air conditioner are the evaporator, condenser, compressor, and expansion valve. Each of these parts has a specific role to play in the air conditioning system, and understanding how they work is essential for keeping your air conditioner running smoothly. The evaporator is located on the cold side of the air conditioner and is responsible for receiving the liquid coolant. It is combined with a fan that blows air through the cooled coils into your home.

The liquid refrigerant is then converted to gas through a pressure drop, which is regulated by the expansion valve located between the evaporator and condenser coils. The compressor is located on the hot side of the air conditioner and is responsible for pressurizing the coolant. It is a large electric pump that repressurizes refrigerant gas to convert it back to liquid. This helps the condenser, while the expansion valve helps the evaporator. In addition to these four main components, there are several other parts of an air conditioner that homeowners should be aware of.

These include the thermostat, air blower unit, air filter, evaporator coil, and compressor. The air filter is usually connected to the air handling unit and traps dirt, dust, and other small debris to protect the internal components of the air conditioner and improve air quality in your home. It is important to replace the air filter according to the recommended schedule as a clogged filter can wear out the equipment. The fan is part of the air handling unit and pushes air through the evaporator where it is cooled. The fan then sends this cooled air through ducts to different areas of your home.

Inside the evaporator coils there is refrigerant which captures heat from the air and pumps it to the condenser coils where it is released outside your home. If your air conditioner is a car, then the compressor would be its engine. The compressor works together with refrigerant to convert low-pressure gas to high-pressure gas which then enters the condenser coil. If you have an AC power with ducts such as a minislit unit or window unit, you can use a smart AC controller that works just like a thermostat for central systems. You can keep your most important air conditioning component in good condition by checking frequently for refrigerant leaks, preventing 26% contamination by dirt, keeping condenser coils clean, and keeping your air conditioner well-oiled. This is where you inform your air conditioning unit of your cooling preferences and accordingly turn it on or off to maintain optimal indoor temperature.

Maintenance Tips for Your Air Conditioner

To ensure that your air conditioner runs efficiently, it's important to perform regular maintenance on all its components.

Here are some tips for keeping your AC in top shape:

  • Check for refrigerant leaks regularly.
  • Prevent contamination by dirt by cleaning or replacing filters regularly.
  • Keep condenser coils clean.
  • Keep your AC well-oiled.


Understanding how each component of an air conditioner works together is essential for keeping it running smoothly. Regular maintenance will help ensure that all parts are functioning properly and that your AC will continue to provide you with cool, comfortable temperatures in your home.