To cool a home, homeowners have a few different options to choose from: a central air conditioning system, a ductless mini-split or floor mount, portable air conditioners, or window air conditioners. A central air conditioner requires a system of ducts to cool the entire home, whereas all other systems are localized.

How Central Air Conditioners Work

A central air conditioner has the following components:

  • A thermostat that controls system operation
  • An indoor unit that houses the evaporator coil and fan to circulate cool air
  • An outdoor unit that houses a fan, compressor, and condenser coil
  • Copper tubing that moves refrigerant between the indoor and outdoor units
  • An expansion valve that regulates the flow refrigerant into the evaporator coil
  • Ductwork that circulates air from the indoor unit to the various rooms in the home

The evaporator has cooling coils that use refrigerant to remove heat and humidity from the air. The compressor is a pump that moves refrigerant between the evaporator and the condenser to cool indoor air. The blower circulates air over the evaporator, helping to disperse chilled air. Hot coils release the heat outdoors.

A fan also blows air over the condenser to help release the heat outside. The filter removes harmful particles from the air, while the thermostat controls the amount of cool air that is distributed throughout the home.

The indoor and outdoor units work simultaneously to effectively cool the home and remove humidity.

Central AC Maintenance

The central air conditioning system requires maintenance to work properly. Homeowners need to replace air filters once every three months, oil the fan motor, and clean individual parts to ensure they run smoothly. It’s also important to clean the cooling fans at least once a year. To do this, turn off the unit and use a garden hose to wash away dirt, leaves, grass, and other debris. Also make sure there’s at least one foot of clear space around the outdoor unit.

If you have any questions about how your central air conditioner works or need professional AC maintenance, call Roger The Plumber.

Click here to see 5 tips for replacing your home’s HVAC system.