You’re hardly alone if you equate the prospect of installing a new air conditioner to learning a foreign language. Compressor? Condenser? What’s the difference?

The solution? Educate yourself to understand the basics of how an air conditioner works. No one expects you to become a certified HVAC expert at the end of the process. But the knowledge you gain will help make you an informed – and confident – consumer. It also might mitigate the stress of making this major financial investment.

So take notes, if doing so will help you understand how an air conditioner’s key components work together to bring cool air to your home:

  • The network of tubes through which refrigerant flows is called the coil.
  • The “heart” of any central A/C unit is the compressor; it sends the coolant from the indoor evaporator coil along to the outdoor condensing unit and then back to the evaporator.
  • The coil that triggers the refrigerant gas to emit heat to its surroundings and become a liquid is called the condenser.
  • The coil that allows the refrigerant to absorb heat, causing the refrigerant to boil and turn into a low-temperature vapor, is known as the evaporator. 
  • The expansion device releases the pressure created by the compressor, which causes the temperature to plummet and the coolant to become a vapor/liquid mixture.This is called a TXV – thermal expansion valve – typically found in equipment with higher SEER numbers.
  • The plenum is essentially an air compartment that forms part of the system for channeling cooled air.
  • The coolant (also called the “refrigerant”) circulates through the air conditioner — at turns absorbing, transporting and releasing heat.

These well-calibrated machines have undergone many changes in the last 20 years, and the U.S. Department of Energy has led the charge with its line of Energy Star-qualified products. Quieter and infinitely more energy-efficient than their clunky predecessors, and those that only meet the government’s minimum efficiency standard, today’s A/Cs can save you a significant amount of money on your cooling costs.

Combine your newfound knowledge about installing a new air conditioner with the expertise of Apollo Home Electrical, Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. When it comes to learning the foreign language of A/Cs, let us be your interpreter, and we’ll guide you to the best choice for your greater Cincinnati area home.

Image via Shutterstock.com