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A Beginner's Guide To Air Conditioning Systems!

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How Air Conditioners Function

Air conditioners are an essential part of homes, especially in the warm spring and hot summer months. Many homeowners may assume that air conditioning is not an incredibly complex system. After all, it just produces cold air – how hard can that be, right? Wrong!

Air conditioning systems are complex and involve many parts that must each function correctly to ensure the adequate functioning of the whole system. If one part malfunctions, then the whole system malfunctions. Homeowners should understand the basic anatomy of their home air conditioning systems, how they function, and where they can seek help for issues beyond their control.

The Anatomy of an Air Conditioning Unit

Air conditioning units contain many different parts, each with particular functions that engage with other parts of the unit. While most of these parts are located outside the house, some are inside (often relatively unnoticeable).

The main parts of the outdoor air conditioning unit include the condenser, compressor, expansion valve, and fan. The main indoor component is the evaporator, which is typically surrounded by a metal encasing. Homeowners should know these main components and understand how each function in the context of the overall air conditioning system. 

How Air Conditioning Parts Workhvac parts

Knowing the function of each air conditioning part is extremely important. While homeowners may not necessarily be able to diagnose a problem, knowing how each part functions at a base level may help to speed along the process of identifying where an issue may be occurring.

The main functions of the primary unit parts include the following:

  • Evaporator – transforms the refrigerant from liquid to gas, which creates cooling effects on outdoor air (this air is then sent to the condenser)
  • Expansion valve – located between the evaporator and condenser, it regulates the volume of liquid refrigerant being transformed into gas
  • Condenser – transforms the refrigerant from a gas back into a liquid and, in the process, expels heat back outside
  • Compressor – helps the condenser convert gaseous refrigerant back into liquid
  • Fan – circulates out heat in the condenser to prevent overheating

Given the importance of each of these parts, homeowners should be on the lookout for any signs of malfunctioning. If there is cause for concern, they should immediately turn off the system and call for professional help. 

How Air Conditioning Professionals Can Helpprofessionals

If homeowners discover or suspect issues with their air conditioning systems, air conditioning professionals can be a huge help! The first area they can help with is the initial diagnosis since units are so complex. Once diagnosed, professionals can help homeowners decide if repair or replacement makes the most sense.

Professionals can also help homeowners make decisions based on individual constraints. For example, homeowners may have certain budget constraints that limit their available options. Similarly, professionals may adjust their recommendations based on the age of the AC system and frequency of use.

Lastly, sometimes there are no issues, and homeowners are just in need of basic maintenance. Professionals can help here too! They can do touch-ups early on to ensure problems do not arise, and they can even help upgrades! 

About Sunset Heating & Cooling

Sunset Heating & Cooling of Portland, OR has been in business since 1922 and operates with the belief that every customer should be treated like family. Their team of skilled technicians offers honest flat-rate pricing, expert workmanship, and top-tier customer service. Give them a call for HVAC service today!

What Our Clients Say

Sunset went out of their way to help with my project and David was amazing. Great job and look forward to future projects.

-Todd T.

Roman did an awesome job. I had the trifecta, new AC unit ,furnace and hot water heater. Courteous, and competent service. I highly recommend Sunset Heating & Cooling.

-Charles E.

Eduardo provided excellent service when he repaired our AC. I felt his effort was over and above expected. Polite and professional at all times. Good job!

-William G.

Caring, professional and helpful. Thanks for making things happen quickly and getting my Dear friend's heating back up and running in such a quick manner. You went above and beyond for a family in need and that is very much appreciated. Thanks from the whole group!

-Kristina K.

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