How Your AC System Works: A Beginners Guide

Did you know that central air conditioners can also be called a heat pump? Many people wrongly associate the term "heat pump" as only involving the actual heating of their home. In reality, the heat pump is a two-part system. Only one part of it, the air handler, is connected to the heating mechanism (usually a furnace or boiler). The other part of the heat pump is the actual condenser unit which is the large cabinet with a fan outside of the home. So, when experts or websites refer to the heat pump of a central HVAC system, they are actually referring to the air conditioning functions. It is helpful to know because it makes it so much easier to understand how to keep your system working efficiently if you know the basic terminology.

The Most Important Components

It is also helpful to know what the separate components in a typical residential HVAC system are called, and what they do. The condenser unit does quite a few things, and it houses some of the most vital components. The condensers are metal pleats on the inside and outside walls of the AC unit, and this is basically where hot air is distributed out of the home. In order to pump cold air into your home, the heat pump needs to remove hot air from it. This is often called waste heat. In order to make room for the cold air, this extra heat air needs to be thrown out of the house.

The compressor aids the condenser by circulating refrigerant between the evaporator (which is inside the building and usually connected to the air handler) and condenser. At the same time, the large fan inside the condenser unit spins to blow the hot air off of the condensers to keep them cool.

As you can see, all of these components are highly reliant on each other. If even one part is not working at its maximum efficiency, it is going to affect its neighbor. It is vital that your compressor, condenser, evaporator, and fan are all regularly serviced if you want to ensure a long lifespan for your heat pump and prime efficiency on a day to day basis.

Lastly, it is important to point out that many of these components are also in operation when you are running your heater, so they don't necessarily get rested during the winter. For more information, contact your local residential AC installation service