What Is Central Air and How Does It Work? by Hot To Cold

Air Conditioning Edmonton | What Is Central Air and How Does It Work?

You may think that a central air system is a complex one but it is made up of a few main components that work together to cool your home. Central air is synonymous with central air condition or HVAC system. It includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Within this HVAC system there are key parts that make up the system to heat, cool and dehumidify your home or building. This central air system provides cool air to the whole home or building and eliminates the hot air inside your living space.

Main Components of an AC system

The main components that make up the HVAC system are the compressor, condenser, evaporator coil, air handler or blower compartment and thermostat.

The compressor is the main driver in your air conditioner. It is housed in the outdoor unit of the system. Simply put it is responsible for circulating refrigerant during the heat exchange through the coils. It could be well described as the energy source of the central air system. The refrigerant used in this process is a chemical that has heat transfer capabilities. The chemical process in the AC system absorbs the heated air and exchanges it for cool air which is then forced back into the home. There are a few other components that are involved in this process.

The condenser is the next key component that is also located in the outside portion of the system. It is housed along with the compressor. These two components work together to make the HVAC system function. The condenser takes the high pressure and high temperature refrigerant vapor from the compressor and immediately cools it by removing the heat.

In turn the refrigerant becomes a high-pressure liquid and is moved to the indoor unit where it pushes the coolness into the home or building. This exchange goes on and on in a cycle where heat is exchanged for cool. This is all achieved through a chemical process or exchange.

Some common causes of a condenser failure are electrical issues which can be very costly to fix and essentially could mean you need a new AC system. Another cause of failure is improper suction line sizes. If you have too much refrigerant or the wrong type, you can also run into condenser failure. It is imperative you have the professionals like Hot to Cold Mechanical service and repair your central air system in a timely and routine manner.

Things to address during maintenance

Some common things addressed in maintenance are that the right refrigerant and amounts are used, looking for leaks in refrigerant lines, blocked suction lines, dirty coils and air filters, ample amounts of lubricants where necessary and cleaning of dirt and debris coming in from the dirty air.

Evaporator coil

The evaporator coil is another main component of every central air system. This is found in the indoor portion of the system right by the furnace. This part works in conjunction with the refrigerant and the blower to take the heat out of the air by it being blown over the evaporator coils where it is cooled. Technically, its the refrigerant that moves into the coils, absorbs the heat through evaporation from the air thereby, leaving cool air in its place which is then distributed.

Some of the signs your evaporator coil is not working is that your air conditioning system is blowing warm air or it starts and stops a lot, but it isn’t doing a good job of cooling your home. There may be strange noises like hissing or banging. These are signs of trouble. The air conditioner may not even turn on. If you see refrigerant leaking anywhere near the indoor unit, this is a concern.

Air Blower

The air handler or blower component is what is responsible for the distribution of the cooled air. It is directly in link with the evaporator coil. The fan inside this component pushes the cooled air into the ducts reaching it’s end points, the vents, in all the rooms of the home or building.


The last main component of the air conditioning system is the thermostat. This is the part of the system that most people are familiar with and allows the user to control the system. You can set the temperature, whether cooling or heating. You can also manipulate if you want the fan on all the time or set it to auto where it comes on as needed. It is the brains within the air conditioning system that sets the indoor temperature and tells the furnace or air conditioning system to kick in.

How does an AC work?

Without being too technical, air-conditioning systems provide cooled air into your home or building. They take the warm air and remove the heat and humidity through a cycle where the refrigerant takes the heat and leaves behind cooled air. There is a technical chemical process that uses all the main components described above.

A cycle of evaporation, compression, and condensation keeps the air cooled to the desired temperature. Heat, humidity, and bad air are exchanged for cool, comfortable, and fresh air even on the hottest summer day. This is a pleasant indoor experience that anyone who has an air conditioning system can enjoy.

Contact Us

If you haven’t yet purchased an air conditioning system, or you are ready for an upgrade, the biggest things to consider are your budget, the size of your home, what style you want whether ductless of central and what brand you feel comfortable with. You may be unsure of all these items, but all you need to do is contact Hot to Cold Mechanical. They will come to your home and give you a no nonsense, no obligation quote based on all the criteria mentioned above and more.

Hot to Cold values integrity, quality, and top-rated service no matter how big or small the job is. Customers are educated as well so that there are less repairs in the future. Maintaining the system is just as important as anything. The brands used are trusted to last and work optimally with little repairs.