The primary role of an AC is to cool the indoor air on hot days. It also filters out contaminants, and by lowering the temperature the air conditioner helps regulate indoor humidity. However, if you ignore your AC maintenance, it will most likely break down at the least expected time.
Therefore, you should pay attention to your unit to keep it in working condition and avoid disruptions. By familiarizing yourself with the system, you can easily spot a problem and call a professional early enough before it escalates into a significant issue. Here are the crucial components that make up an air conditioner.
Refrigerant is a special fluid in a closed-loop that changes state from liquid to gas at a convenient temperature to aid in cooling. The refrigerant’s primary purpose is to carry heat from the inside of the house to the outside. It moves through the air conditioner coils that connect to the inside of the unit.
When the indoor fan blows warm air over the coils, the refrigerant absorbs the air’s heat and changes state from gas to liquid. It then travels to the outdoor unit to disperse the heat. Each time you turn the air conditioner on to circulate cold air into the house, the cycle repeats itself.
2. The Blower Motor
The cooling cycle begins from the blower. When you turn on your unit, the blower circulates cold air through the vents into your house. It also pulls out the warm indoor air for re-cooling. Proper maintenance of the blower motor limits the chances of malfunction, and maintains a comfortable temperature within your house.
One way to know that you have a faulty blower motor is if the AC is still running, but the room feels warm. You can resolve this by clearing dirt and debris around the motor. Ensure that you cut off the power before removing the access panel to reach the component. If it still doesn’t work, call a professional to evaluate and fix the issue.
A compressor is a large pump located at the outdoor cabinet whose primary role is to pressurize the refrigerant to turn it back into liquid. It works based on the combined gas law, which states that if the pressure increases, temperature increases too. Thus, when the refrigerant passes through the compressor, it’s squeezed tightly together, which raises the temperature.
The idea here is to get the refrigerant temperature higher than the outdoor air, since heat flows from hot to cold. This way, it’s easier to disperse heat. The component requires a steady supply of refrigerant and proper lubrication to function appropriately. Refrigerant leaks can significantly damage the compressor, which results in inexpensive replacements. Thus, the compressor requires regular maintenance. DIY projects won’t work for this part, so have it checked by an experienced technician.
4. Condenser Coils
From the compressor, the pressurized and high-temperature refrigerant proceeds to the condenser coil. As the refrigerant travels through the hollow coils, it expels indoor heat to the outdoors. When the heat leaves the refrigerant, it changes back into liquid then flows into the expansion valve.
Moisture and high pressure from the compressor can form a corrosive substance that can create pinhole leaks in the condenser coils. It thus results in refrigerant leaks, a severe problem that calls for expensive repairs and puts your family members’ health at risk. To avoid this, it’s a good idea to have a professional clean the coils often to get rid of the corrosive acid.
5. Expansion Valve
After the refrigerant loses heat to the outside, it’s still too hot to enter the evaporator coils. At the expansion valve, the refrigerant cools to the appropriate temperature due to a decrease in pressure. Also, the expansion valve regulates the amount of refrigerant entering the evaporator. This is another complex part that requires regular checking by a professional every few months.
6. Evaporation Coils
The evaporation coils play a vital role in keeping your house cool. Here, the refrigerant changes from liquid into gas due to decreased pressure and lower temperature. As the indoor air passes through the evaporator coils, it loses warmth and moisture because heat naturally travels from hot to cold areas.
This part, therefore, helps produce cool and dry air fed into your house through the ductwork. However, it requires annual cleaning to eliminate any debris that may get hinder performance. It’s a delicate component, and you should therefore leave the cleaning to a professional.
7. Air Filter
Air filters form a shield of protection against dirt, dust particles, pollen, pet dander, and other contaminants, and therefore help improve indoor air quality. If you notice that your AC isn’t cooling the house as efficiently as it should, check the air filters.
Clean or change them after three months to prevent dust from entering the evaporator coil, which can damage your unit. However, if you reside in dusty areas or you have a heavily shedding pet, change the filters more often.
The thermostat is the control center of the entire air conditioning system. The thermostat senses temperature and communicates cooling needs to the air conditioner. The unit then kicks on to circulate cool air until it reaches the desired level inputted on the thermostat. When the house cools to the appropriate level, the thermostat will notify the AC to stop working for a while.
Since it’s the primary controlling device of your unit, have the thermostat often checked to ensure that it’s working properly. You can even choose to switch to the smart thermostat that enables you to adjust settings remotely to save on energy, especially when you are out of the house.
9. Drain Pipes
When the evaporator coils draw moisture from the air, the air condenses into water. The drain pipe is, therefore, an exit route for the excess condensation in your AC. It drains the water into a condensate pan located outside.
Note that a clogged drain pipe can cause insufficient cooling and air conditioning failure. This mainly happens when dust particles make their way into the line where they accumulate and form blockages. You will then begin to notice excess moisture levels in the house, or even AC leaks. Have an experienced technician clean the drain pipes to get rid of the clog. You can also clean the drain lines using a copper wire and flush them with water to prevent clogging.
An efficiently working air conditioning system offers relief in hot summer months. Therefore, it’s good to understand various parts of an air conditioner and how they function to guide you in maintenance. Scheduling preventive maintenance services with a professional will also help ensure that your unit runs at optimum efficiency. Whenever you need help with your air conditioner unit, reach out to White Mechanical, Inc.. We have a team of technicians very knowledgeable in the industry’s current trends to resolve any issue that they come across quickly and professionally. Our company offers various services, including heating and cooling systems installation, repair, and maintenance.
We also handle duct cleaning, ceiling insulation installations, ventilation, filtration, and ductless mini-splits systems services. We serve residents of Foothill Ranch, CA. Call us today and book an appointment to enjoy any of our services.