Drawing showing the key parts to a modern air conditioning compressor/condensor unitAir Conditioning / Heat Pump Types, Components & Parts
     


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Air conditioner & heat pump types, components, & parts descriptions. This article describes the different types of air conditioning or heat pump systems and names the parts & components of those systems. This information provides a guide for the inspection, diagnosis or repair of air conditioners and heat pumps.

This article series describes how to inspect and repair all types of residential air conditioning systems (A/C systems). Information for home buyers, owners, and home inspectors about A/C or heat pump system problems. Page top image provided courtesy Carson Dunlop Associates. A somewhat simpler schematic of an air conditioning-only system is provided just below.
Serbian flag Srpski prevod nad današji stranica [Serbian translation of air conditioning diagnosis and repair articles]

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Air Conditioning & Heat Pump Components List - An Inspection Guide

Conventional Residential Air Conditioner Components: Outside Condenser/Compressor unit, Inside Evaporator Air Handler unit

Photograph of older side-vent combination hot air furnace and central air conditioning system. The evaporator coil or A-coil is visible in the top of the unit.

Conventional A/C cooling or Heat Pump systems include the following components:

Indoor Components of an air conditioning system
(Details can be read and seen at AIR CONDITIONER COMPONENT PARTS)

    1. Air Handler Unit (AHU) which typically includes the following [AIR HANDLER / BLOWER UNITS]
    2. Supply air ducts and registers [DUCT SYSTEM & DUCT DEFECTS]
    3. Return air ducts and registers
    4. Air filter(s) and possibly other air cleaning/IAQ equipment [AIR FILTERS for HVAC SYSTEMS]
    5. Electrical shut off switches, circuit breakers/fuses
      [CONTROLS & SWITCHES, A/C - HEAT PUMP]

Outdoor Air Conditioning System Components
(Details can be read and seen at AIR CONDITIONER COMPONENT PARTS)

    1. Compressor motor - on residential units this is normally a hermetic motor-compressor combined in a single sealed unit - COMPRESSOR / CONDENSER REPAIR
    2. Condensing coil - CONDENSING COIL REPAIR REPLACE
    3. Outdoor cooling fan or condenser unit fan - FAN, COMPRESSOR / CONDENSER UNIT
    4. Electrical shut-off switch(es) for service & circuit protection - CONTROLS & SWITCHES, A/C - HEAT PUMP

All of the components, controls, switches of air conditioning systems and how to diagnose and debug cooling system problems are discussed in detail at this website.

Rooftop Air Conditioning System Components

Photograph of commercial rooftop mounted A/C systemRooftop combined units: While the list above describes the common components of a typical residential air conditioning system, other configurations and packaged units are also in increased use in both residential and commercial installations.

Alternative air conditioning system designs may combine all components except for the duct work in a rooftop mounted unit such as the one shown above where it was mounted on a flat roof over offices at a commercial building.

More details: see ROOFTOP HVAC UNITS

Wall Convector Heating and Air Conditioning Units

Photograph of wall convector heating and cooling system

Wall convector heating and cooling units (at left) are often used for both heating and cooling in commercial installations and high-rise apartment buildings. The unit shown has its own compressor mounted right in the cabinet, visible at lower center in the photo.

Wall-mounted heating and cooling convector installations may be designed with one central heater or cooling system which feeds multiple units with chilled or heated water or possibly refrigerant from a single remote heating and cooling heat pump.

Details about wall convectors used for heating or cooling and about convector blower fans are found at WALL CONVECTORS HVAC and also at FAN CONVECTOR HEATERS - HYDRONIC COILS

Split System Air Conditioners or Ductless Air Conditioners & Heat Pumps

Another common residential alternative dispenses with duct work entirely, using a wall-mounted indoor evaporator/blower unit and a separate outside compressor/condenser (below left and right). In this split system air conditioning design, one compressor/condenser may serve multiple wall-mount indoor units.

Split system air conditioner (C) Daniel Friedman Split system air conditioner (C) Daniel Friedman

The Sanyo® compressor/condenser unit shown (above left) can support two indoor evaporator/fan cooling units. In this installation the indoor units were mounted in two different areas of the home. The thermostat and controls for split system air conditioners and heat pumps may be wall mounted but often are a portable hand-held remote controller.

Details about ductless air conditioners, split systems, mini split systems and ceiling-mount A/C systems are at SPLIT SYSTEM AIR CONDITIONERS & HEAT PUMPS.

Goofy Home Made or Do-it-yourself Air Conditioning Systems

Photograph of  this unusual attic air conditioning system is an example of the range of human creativity observed during a career of building inspections

Do-It-Yourself Home made air conditioning systems such as this goofy example may actually work but not without problems. This system used a window air conditioner placed in a home's attic.

Manhole ventilation duct (liberated from New York City) was used along with a home made hood attached to the air conditioner to blow cool air into the home through a ceiling register. The air conditioning condensate was collected in the blue plastic kiddie pool seen in the photo, and drained by gravity to a plumbing vent stack.

Nothing about the system was proper, safe, nor very effective, and in addition, the attic moisture conditions were terrible as you can see from the blackened plywood roof sheathing.

Also see: Home Made Air Conditioning Systems or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

More Reading

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