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Common Air Conditioning Terms to Know


Whether you are looking up how to change an air filter or you are discussing a cooling problem with your HVAC company, it helps to know the names of air conditioning components so that you can effectively find the answers you are looking for. This handy guide contains definitions for the most common air conditioning terms you will encounter.

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Air Conditioning Components

Air filter – The air filter protects the air conditioner from damage while removing dust, pollen, pet dander, and other contaminants from the air. It should be checked monthly and replaced every three months or so.

Air handler – The interior portion of the air conditioner that includes the evaporator coil, blower fan, blower motor, and condensate drain. In systems with furnaces, these components are often installed in and shared with the furnace.

Blower fan – A squirrel-cage fan that blows the warm air from your home over the evaporator.

Blower motor – The motor that drives the blower fan. It can be a single-speed or variable-speed motor, and it may be direct-drive or use a combination of a belt and pulleys to turn the fan.

Compressor – An electric motor and pump combination that compresses the refrigerant and pumps it through the system.

Condensate drain – Consisting of a drip pan, drain, and drain pipe, this collects condensed water that forms on the evaporator and directs it either outside or to a nearby plumbing drain.

Condenser coils – Coils of tubing with fins that release the heat absorbed from your home, similar to a car’s radiator. A fan draws air over the coils to help remove the heat and cool the refrigerant.

Condenser unit – The outdoor portion of the air conditioner that includes the condenser coils, condenser fan, and compressor.

Evaporator – A set of coils inside your home that absorbs heat from the air, leaving the interior cooler.

Refrigerant – A fluid that can easily change phase from liquid to gas. As the fluid absorbs heat at the evaporator, it turns to a gas, and as it releases heat at the condenser, it returns to a liquid.

Refrigerant lines – The tubing that transports the refrigerant between the condenser unit and the air handler.

Register – The adjustable vent cover that disperses conditioned air from the ductwork in each room.

Return ducts – Air ducts that draw air from your home to be cooled by the air conditioner and sent through the ductwork for distribution.

Supply ducts – Air ducts that carry the cool air from the air handler to each room of the home.

Thermostat – The mechanical or electrical device that monitors temperature and instructs the air conditioner to turn on or off as required.

Types of Air Conditioner

Split system – The typical central air conditioner with a single condenser unit and a centralized air handler.

Ductless mini-split – A split system with one condenser unit and a wall or ceiling-mounted air handler in each room or zone. No air ducts are required.

Heat pump – A reversible split system that provides cooling in the summer and heating in the winter.

Air Conditioning Services in Maryland

When you need air conditioning repairs, maintenance, or installations in Maryland, trust GAC Services. We feature experienced, certified technicians, and we serve clients throughout Montgomery County, Howard County, and Frederick County. In combination with our 100% satisfaction guarantee, up-front pricing, and nationally certified technicians, you can rely on GAC Services for honest, quality HVAC services.

Call {{dc:acf:option_field field=”contact_info_phone_text”}} or contact us online to schedule AC services today!

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