If you are like most homeowners, you likely can't name the various parts of your home's air conditioning system. On one hand, this is okay because HVAC systems should always be serviced by licensed professionals. On the other hand, it's very helpful if you know some basics to assist you with troubleshooting and when you are speaking with your AC maintenance technician about a problem you are experiencing.
Below is a bit of information about each air conditioning system part to give you a better understanding:
The Power Supply
Residential air conditioning systems have two different power supplies. The main furnace is hardwired into the main power panel, and the air conditioner's condenser unit outside has its own wiring to the panel. To turn off the power, you can do so by flipping their respective breakers in the panel.
The Exterior Condenser Unit
The exterior portion of your air conditioning system is often referred to as the condenser. However, in addition to the actual condenser coils it contains, the metal cube also contains a compressor and a fan.
The fan pulls air into the system and the compressor pressurizes it and sends it through the cooling coils. The cold air is then sent into your home's furnace to be distributed to the rest of your home via its blower motor and the ductwork system.
The Interior HVAC System
The main part of your home's HVAC system is located in your home or garage. This portion is often referred to as the "furnace", though it also contains the following parts:
- a filter
- a run capacitor
- a blower motor
- a heating element
When the thermostat signals the HVAC system to turn on in its heating mode, an electrical signal is sent to the run capacitor to turn on the blower motor. The blower motor brings in ambient air into the system so it can be passed over the heating element for heating, and it also passes all the heated air on to the vents in the rest of your home. The air brought into the system is passed through a large filter to remove pollen, mold spores, and other contaminants.
HVAC heating elements are made of coiled nickel and chromium wire. The wire coils superheat and the air is passed over them to be heated.
Finally, when your HVAC system is running in its air conditioning mode, then the heating element isn't activated and the system only uses the blower motor and vent system to pass along the cold air from the outdoor condenser unit.