Your air conditioner has three main mechanical components to cool your home:
- A compressor (a pump that pressurizes the refrigerant)
- An evaporator coil (inside cold coil)
- A condenser coil (outside warm coil)
Basically, the air in your home moves over the cold evaporator coil that’s inside your home, which absorbs the heat from the air with refrigerant (a heat transfer fluid).
The refrigerant in that coil then flows to the warm condenser coil. There, the compressor compresses that refrigerant to make it really hot, hotter than whatever the air is like outside.
This allows the air outdoor to absorb the heat in the refrigerant that’s flowing through the outdoor coil until the refrigerant cools down and flows back inside where it can absorb more heat. The refrigerant flows back and forth until your home reaches the temperature set by your thermostat.
So, why does this matter to you? Because when these coils get dirty, your air conditioner works less efficiently and costs you more money as a result. This is partially why you hear people saying you need to get your air conditioner checked at least once a year for a tune-up.