Anatomy of Your AC Unit – What You Should Know

Your AC unit works hard every summer to make sure you have a safe haven away from the blaring heat. Many of us would flip the switch and let the machine do its magic without thinking too much about how it does what it does. We at Super Heat & Air want to help you become more familiar with the inner workings of your air conditioner, part by part, so you can better take care of it the way it takes care of you.


We’ll be talking about refrigerant a lot, so let’s go over it first. Refrigerant, also referred to as coolant, is a solution that runs through the coils of your AC unit and influences the temperature of the air going in and out. It bounces back and forth between a liquid and gaseous state depending on whether the air being influenced is hot or cool.


Usually considered the most important (and expensive) part of the AC unit, the compressor is what compresses the refrigerant from a warm vapor into a hot liquid. The refrigerant must be brought to a temperature that’s hotter than the outside environment in order to guide hot air out as hot air naturally gravitates towards cooler air.

Evaporator Coil

Evaporator coils draw heat from inside of the room. They are usually made of either copper, steel, or aluminum, but copper is more preferred since the material is better at conducting heat. These coils contain cool, evaporated refrigerant. The warm air from the room is sucked into the HVAC and passed over the cool evaporator coils to return cold air back into the room.

Condenser Coil

Working in tandem with the evaporator coil, the condenser coil pulls heat out of the refrigerant and expels the hot air outside. The refrigerant is transformed from a gas to a liquid in the process.

Expansion Valve

When the refrigerant is a liquid, it is no longer able to absorb heat. The expansion valve is where the liquid coolant is reverted back into its gaseous state so that it can start the cooling process over again.

Air Filter

Probably the easiest thing to fix or replace, the air filter is what keeps dust and other various debris out of the AC unit. It’s important to switch out your filter regularly in order to protect the other, more expensive parts of your air conditioner to save yourself any unnecessary trouble due to neglect.


The fans serve the simple function of directing the air in and out of the AC unit. It also prevents overheating by constantly drawing hot air out of the unit.

Now that you have a better understanding of what is inside of your AC unit, you can have a deeper appreciation for the incredible work that it does to keep you nice and cool during those dreadfully hot days. You might even be able to determine which part might need service if your unit ever breaks down. If that ever happens, you can count on Super Heat & Air to do the job! (813) 279-8213

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