Getting to Know the Parts of Your Air Conditioner

May 14, 2024

Excerpt: Do you know the various parts of your air conditioner? This article offers a brief look at your air conditioning system to introduce you to its many components.

Air conditioning is an amazing modern convenience that keeps your home cool during the warm summer months. Together with your HVAC company, maintaining your air conditioning will ensure your home remains comfortable, regardless of the temperature outside. Knowing the parts of your home’s central air conditioner can help you better maintain this important appliance, as well as alert you to problems that may require professional A/C repair. Keep reading to explore the basic components of your air conditioning to learn how they work together to produce cooled air for your home.


The cooling cycle begins with your air conditioner’s evaporator coils. These coils are housed inside your home, typically located adjacent to your furnace. This is because central air conditioners share an air handler, or fan system, with the furnace. When air passes over the evaporator coils, heat is drawn out of the air and into the refrigerant in the coils. This cools the air inside your home, which is then distributed via ducts to your living spaces. Over time, the evaporator coils can gather dust, which affects their ability to function. You can clean your evaporator coils yourself, or have your HVAC technician check and clean them during his biannual maintenance visits.


Once your air conditioner’s refrigerant is heated inside, it travels to the outdoor component of your A/C system, which contains the compressor and the condenser. First, the compressor turns the refrigerant into a high-pressure gas. Inside the condenser, the refrigerant then radiates heat away into the outside air with the help of metal fins, which form the visible part of your condenser’s housing. Once the refrigerant is cooled, it will travel back inside so the cooling cycle can begin again. Keep the area around your condenser clear of debris and trim landscaping back to prevent falling leaves or branches from damaging your air conditioning.

Drain and Drip Tray

During the cooling process, your air conditioner produces moisture as a byproduct. This moisture is funneled out of your home via a drain that runs from the evaporator to a port outside your home, often located near the condenser. Beneath the evaporator, a drip tray is typically used to catch any excess moisture and prevent drips from damaging your HVAC system and the surrounding area. You should check your drain and drip tray regularly to ensure they are clean and that the drain is free of clogs, which can cause water to back up into your evaporator and halt its cooling functions.


Your thermostat is an oft-overlooked component of both your cooling and heating system. The temperature setting on your thermostat guides your air conditioner, telling it when more or less cooling is needed. If you’re having trouble with your air conditioning, the first place to check is often your thermostat. A dirty or poorly-maintained thermostat can reduce the cooling efficiency of your air conditioning, causing you to pay more for a less comfortable home. If your home still uses a mercury-based analog thermostat, consider upgrading to a digital programmable system for even greater convenience and efficiency.

Whether you need air conditioning maintenance, repair, or replacement in Detroit, our experienced team of HVAC technicians is here to help. Click through our website to find out more about our full range of heating and cooling services, as well as check out our convenient and cost-effective home maintenance plans. You can also look through our blog for additional home heating and cooling information and the latest industry news on home HVAC systems.

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Last Updated: June 04, 2024