To keep your air conditioner in good shape, it’s recommended by experts that you perform regular maintenance every 3 months. This is especially true in a country as hot and humid as Singapore, where an air conditioner isn’t a choice but a total necessity.
But before you even start performing check-ups and quick inspections, you will need to know which is which in your aircon unit, right?
Familiarizing yourself with the basic anatomy of your aircon unit and how aircon works is important as it can help you detect any potential problem and solve it with the help of an aircon technician or professional.
In this complete guide, we’ll walk you through the different parts of an air conditioner — from major parts and essential components all the way to add-ons and exterior panels that complete the AC experience.
The 3 Major Aircon Parts
1. Aircon Compressor
The compressor, known as the heart of the air conditioning system, plays a major role in the overall cooling system. The compressor takes the heat in the air and throws it outside, allowing the cooled air to circulate inside your room. It does this by turning the gas refrigerant that circles through the inner components into a liquid, releasing heat into the outdoors in the process.
The compressor is a complex mechanism inside the air conditioner and should be checked and maintained every few months by a professional. DIY repair and maintenance isn’t advisable in this case.
2. Aircon Condenser
As another major aircon component, the condenser extracts heat from the interior of the unit and helps to transfer it outside. Normally made of hollow coils, this vital aircon part receives the refrigerant gas and allows it to enter the coil as part of the cooling process.
The moisture inside your aircon could react with the compressor coils and form a corrosive substance, which may eventually damage the condenser and other parts of your aircon. This is a serious problem, and only professionals can deal with this issue. Technicians usually perform chemical cleaning to get rid of the corrosive acid. However, if the damage is substantial, they may ask you to replace some internal aircon parts.
3. Aircon Evaporator
Last but not the least, the aircon evaporator is another major aircon part responsible for completing the last step of the cooling process. The refrigerant in liquid form comes from the condenser and into the evaporator to turn back into its gaseous state, allowing the cycle of cooling to return to the beginning.
While the evaporator coil is not directly exposed to dust and grime, it may still accumulate dust particles over time. When the evaporator coil accumulates dirt, it begins to run slower and less efficiently, using more electricity. It’s important to clean the coils regularly with a vacuum cleaner. It would also be helpful to clean the aluminum fins with a soft brush—but be careful because the thin fins are prone to bending!
Minor Aircon Parts
1. Expansion Valve
The expansion valve controls the quantity of liquid refrigerant entering the evaporator. This is a complex aircon part and will need to be checked regularly by a professional every few months.
2. Aircon Filter
The air conditioner filter is one of the most important parts of an air conditioner. It’s mainly responsible for filtering or blocking out any dust, dirt, debris or harmful pathogens that can potentially enter your space through the air you breathe. You can DIY-maintain this part by washing the filters every month with water and a gentle detergent.
3. Aircon Thermostat
Aircon thermostats are the sensors and control panels that allow you to set your desired temperature of the room. The air conditioner will continue to cool the air until the temperature reaches the desired level you’ve inputted on the thermostat. The sensor works by notifying the machine once the room temperature cools down to that level.
As one of the most underrated aircon parts, the muffler controls the sound that the compressor creates while it’s working. The original sound of the compressor will be very loud and thus, extremely annoying. The muffler is important as it helps you enjoy the comfortable temperature in a silent environment.
You’ll know the muffler needs maintenance once the air conditioner becomes very noisy. Make sure to have the muffler checked every few months by an air conditioner professional.
5. Drain Pipes
The drainage system in an air conditioning system is responsible for preventing all sorts of leakages, condensation and dripping in the machine. A high-quality aircon piping system is always recommended by experts to avoid any unnecessary breakdowns or leakages in the aircon unit.
6. PCB or Printed Circuit Board
The Printed Circuit Board or PCB is normally found in both indoor and outdoors units of air conditioners. This board is responsible for executing complex communication, data calculation and output operation within the unit.
7. Aircon Capacitor
The capacitor is a small and compact electrical component inside an AC unit designed to store charge in an electrostatic field. In short, this means it functions as a temporary storage device for electricity. The capacitor is used to stabilize voltage and start the motors in your cooling system.
8. Aircon Fan
The aircon fan consists of the motor and blower, both responsible for producing proper air ventilation and regulation inside the aircon unit.
9. Aircon Vent
AC vents are responsible for maintaining your home or office’s air pressure. These small openings or slits are made to enhance your aircon system and filter out dirt or debris that can make their way inside your space.
10. Aircon Refrigerant
An air conditioning refrigerant gas is a liquid or gaseous compound that acts as the cooling fuel by absorbing heat and providing refrigeration to air conditioners together with their main parts.