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Exploring the Parts of Your Central Air Conditioning System

Technician servicing AC system.Since the 1970s, central air conditioning systems have been popular in homes across America, offering comfort and convenience in every room via a single thermostat control. Central air conditioning systems have several key components that work together in concert to produce cool, dry air for home comfort on hot days. Understanding how each of these parts works together and how to spot trouble can help you maintain your central air conditioning system for better performance, year after year.

Condenser Unit

Central air conditioning systems utilize two main components: an outdoor condenser and an indoor evaporator. The outdoor condenser is housed inside a metal cabinet with slats, called fins, along the sides to direct airflow. Condensers are typically located on a concrete pad beside your home, but may also be located on your roof. When heat is removed from your indoor air by the evaporator, it is absorbed by a refrigerant that is sent to your condenser, where the heat is radiated away to the outdoor air. Once the refrigerant has released its heat, it is pumped back into your home to begin the cooling process again. The best way to keep your condenser working properly is to clear the area around it of debris and keep landscaping trimmed back for at least three feet in all directions. You can clean your condenser using your hose, or have your HVAC technician perform this task during regular air conditioning maintenance visits.

Evaporator Unit

Inside your home, the air conditioner’s evaporator unit draws air across the evaporator coil. This coil contains the refrigerant, which absorbs heat from the air to cool it. Once the air has been cooled, it is blown through your ducts by an air handler. If you have a central furnace installed as well, your air conditioner and furnace will share the same electric air handler system. Your evaporator should be cleaned by your HVAC technician during maintenance visits; additionally, changing the air filter in your air A/C’s intake regularly will help to keep the system free of dust and dirt, as well as reduce strain on the blower motor by improving airflow.


Central air conditioning systems use ductwork to carry cooled air throughout your home. Cooled air is blown into a central duct by your air handler, which branches out into each conditioned space in your home. Ducts end in air registers, which contain adjustable grilles that can be opened or closed to allow for more or less airflow. You can clean your air registers using the hose attachment of your vacuum; make sure not to block registers with furniture or other items. Avoid closing too many registers at once, as this can increase strain on your air handler.


The thermostat is the control center for your home’s central cooling system. Based on your temperature setting, your thermostat prompts your air conditioner to run by comparing your set temperature with the ambient temperature in your home. Thermostats should be placed in a shaded area, out of range of any air registers that may affect its temperature reading. If your air conditioning system seems to run too often or not often enough, it could be an issue with your thermostat.

Caring for your home’s central air conditioning system means following smart cooling practices and scheduling regular professional tune-ups to maximize AC unit efficiency. Book your annual spring air conditioning tune-up with the experts at ARS today by scheduling an appointment online.

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