Why Does My Air Conditioner Have an Outdoor and Indoor Unit?

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Air conditioning systems are a fact of life in the 21st century, helping us keep our homes cool and comfortable even during the worst heat waves. In Denver, air conditioning systems need to endure our long winters in order to make our summers more enjoyable. Many systems contain both an outdoor and an indoor unit, the former of which can be affected by the snows and environmental effects of winter. Why are HVAC units divided into indoor and outdoor units? What purpose does such a division serve? To answer those questions, it helps to understand how air conditioning systems work.

The basic components of a split central HVAC system include a condenser array, evaporator coils, thermal expansion valve and a blower fan (as well as electrical controls such as the shut-off switch, condensate pans to collect condensation, and the like). Refrigerant gas enter the condenser and is subjected to increased pressure, which raises its temperature. The condenser coils then cool the gas, which reverts it to a liquid form, though it’s still under pressure. From there, it moves through the expansion valve and into the evaporator coils, where it evaporates and cools the surrounding air. The blower then pushes the air into you ductwork for dispersal throughout your house.

In most cases, the outdoor unit contains the condenser components, while the indoor unit contains the evaporator coils, expansion valve and blower fan. That allows the heat from the condenser array to disperse into the outside air (usually through the use of another fan), keeping it out of your home and improving the HVAC unit’s efficiency. Meanwhile, the indoor components – responsible for cooling the air – aren’t subjected to high temperatures outside and thus can deliver cool air to your home more efficiently. Moving either half of the equation – the indoor components outdoors or the outdoor components indoors – would reduce the system’s effectiveness, resulting in higher energy bills and a warmer house.

If you’re experiencing difficulties with your HVAC system or you want to explore the possibility of installing a new one, contact Bell Plumbing and Heating for a consultation. We handle air conditioning issues throughout the Denver area and provide sound expertise on all service and replacement issues.

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