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Air conditioners are truly amazing machines, making life much more comfortable and suitable for work, play, and relaxing. Air conditioner units perform this miraculous task by means of heat transfer. Air conditioner condenser coils and evaporator coils are critical components to this task.

For homeowners who want a better idea of how their air conditioners work, here are a few facts about the difference between condenser and evaporator coils and how they work:

  • Central air conditioning is what is known as a closed-loop system. Refrigerant flows through the system, changing from vapor to liquid and then back to liquid. In the system, the refrigerant flows from the indoor evaporator coil through the air conditioner’s system compressor to the outdoor condenser coil, and then back to the evaporator.
  • Evaporator coils contain the refrigerant as it changes from liquid to vapor form. When the air conditioner is in operation, an expansion valve decreases pressure on the refrigerant, turning it into vapor. The resulting heat transfer in the coils creates a cold surface, which blower fans then move air across, creating the cold air that flows from the vents in the building.
  • Condenser coils are located outside in the air conditioner unit. These coils store the refrigerant when it is converted back into vapor. The compressor increases pressure on the vapor, turning it back into liquid. During this process, the heat stored by the refrigerant disperses into the air outside the home. The liquid stored by the condenser coils then flows back inside to the evaporator coils, and the process begins anew.

Keeping your evaporator and condenser coils clean and well-maintained are important to keeping your air conditioner operating at optimum efficiency.