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Understanding Your Home Air Conditioning Unit

home air conditioning
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In South Florida our home air conditioning units are essential. They keep us cool and comfortable in a climate that is anything but that! We love the warm weather but a lovely, cool, and comfortable home is non-negotiable. It’s useful for South Florida homeowners to understand their air conditioning systems. A regular HVAC maintenance schedule is critical to keeping them running efficiently. Let’s look at the parts that make central air conditioning a necessity in our homes.

Air Conditioning Components

The following components are necessary for providing cool air to your home or office:

  • Refrigerant
  • Compressor
  • Condenser coil
  • Expansion valve
  • Evaporator coil
  • Blower fan
  • Thermostat

Let’s have a closer look at the role that each one of these components plays when cooling your home.


Refrigerant has undergone substantial development since the invention of air conditioners in 1902. Originally, chemicals known as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used inside refrigeration and air conditioning systems. Scientists discovered that CFCs were responsible for the creation of the hole in the ozone layer and their use was phased out.

The original refrigerants were known as Freon or R-12. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) were then introduced as a replacement. First R-134a was widely used but has now given way to the environmentally friendly R-410A. The important fact to note here is that refrigerant has a low boiling point.


The compressor acts like a pump and moves the refrigerant around the air conditioning unit. It also does what its name suggests – compresses or pressurizes the refrigerant. 

Heat must be transferred from inside your home to the outdoors. The compressor takes warm, low-pressure refrigerant and pressurizes it. The increased pressure heats the refrigerant up as it moves into the condenser coil.

Condenser Coil

The condenser coil is responsible for exhausting the heat collected inside your home to the outdoor air. There is a fan in the condenser unit that blows air over the coil. This helps to accelerate the cooling of the hot, pressurized refrigerant vapor, which then condenses into a liquid state.

Expansion Valve

The expansion valve does exactly what it says. As the hot refrigerant liquid is sprayed out through the small aperture of the expansion valve, it expands into a gaseous state. This expansion means the gas can take on more of the ambient heat around it. What is happening in this process is evaporation, which causes cooling.

Evaporator Coil

The now cooler gas travels into the evaporator coil. Here, a heat transfer takes place. Warm and humid air is blown over the evaporator coil, simultaneously heating the gas inside the coil and cooling the air blown over the coil.

Moisture from the atmosphere condenses on the evaporator coil and is collected in a pan which then drains outdoors. This process cools and dehumidifies the air in your home.

Blower Fan

The blower fan is responsible for circulating that cool air throughout your home. It’s also responsible for blowing warm, humid air over the evaporator coil. Without the blower fan, you would not notice any difference in the indoor temperature!


You already know that the thermostat controls the temperature. By setting the temperature higher, the air conditioning unit cools the air less. By setting the temperature lower, the unit cools more.

Whatever temperature you set, the unit will actively cool until a few degrees below that setting and only turn off at a few degrees above. That difference between turning on and turning off is the comfort zone! If the thermostat did not operate this way, the unit would constantly turn on and off and your home would not be cooled.

Home Air Conditioning Specialists in Coral Springs

If you need maintenance done on your current AC system or are looking for a new installation, give Art a call! Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric has been serving South Florida for over 30 years. If you live in Broward or Palm Beach County, give us a call at 1-800-475-1504.


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