Unless you’re an AC whiz, you likely aren’t familiar with all of the air conditioning components or terminology. If you feel like your HVAC contractor is speaking in foreign tongues, don’t worry! We’ll be sure to explain every detail until you feel comfortable.
During an air conditioner install, you may need to purchase just one piece of an AC system, or you may have all the components included in your project. So it’s important to understand every part of the air conditioning system. Here are the main components and terminology you should know:
Evaporator Coil (also known as the evaporator or indoor coil) – The indoor side of your air conditioner is called the evaporator coil. Most homes in Los Angeles have an evaporator coil right next to a furnace. Or, if there’s no furnace, there will be an evaporator coil inside a piece of equipment called an air handler. The evaporator coil is where very cold refrigerant travels through. Evaporator coils also contain a device called an expansion valve. The expansion valve keeps your coil at the necessary cool temperatures.
Condensing Unit (also referred to as a condenser, outdoor unit, or simply air conditioner) – The condensing unit is the big metal box that sits outside your home. The condensing unit is responsible for building pressure in the system and helping to cool the refrigerant. The condensing unit has several components that help with this, including a coil, a fan, and a compressor. The coil and fan help cool refrigerant, while the compressor helps build pressure.
Other Components in an Air Conditioning System – Although condenser units and evaporator coils are the main pieces of your air conditioning, don’t overlook these other critical parts:
- Piping for refrigerant that travels between the condensing unit and evaporator coil.
- Ductwork which carries air around your home.
- Blower (or indoor fan) which helps airflow through the ductwork. The indoor fan is normally located inside a furnace or an air handler.
- A thermostat which sends on and off signals to your condensing unit and blower.