Window Air Conditioner Common Parts Glossary

Compressor

The compressor receives low-pressure refrigerant gas from the evaporator and rotates to compress that refrigerant to a high-pressure gas that moves through the condenser. The refrigerant gets hot when compressed by the compressor pump. The condenser is a heat exchanger that removes heat from the refrigerant gas and condenses it into a high-pressure liquid refrigerant. The high-pressure liquid refrigerant flows through the expansion device and into the evaporator that's at low pressure. The high-pressure refrigerant expands and evaporates. It absorbs the latent heat of vaporization as it changes from a liquid to a gas, which causes the cooling action in the evaporator. The refrigerant flows through the evaporator and back to the compressor where the cycles starts over.

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Compressor overload

The compressor overload is a protection device in the compressor circuit. The compressor overload trips to cut off voltage to the compressor if the compressor locks up or draws too much current. Excessive current draw causes the compressor and wiring to become hot. The compressor overload resets automatically when the compressor, wiring and the compressor overload cool to a normal operating temperature.

Condensate drain pan

The condensate drain pan catches condensate dripping from the evaporator and drains the condensate to the outside of your home. The air conditioner base assembly serves as the condensate drain pan in some air conditioner models.

Condenser

The condenser is a heat exchanger that cools and condenses the hot, high-pressure refrigerant gas to a liquid. The refrigerant then flows through the evaporator in the window air conditioner. In the low-pressure environment of the evaporator, the liquid refrigerant from the condenser evaporates to a gas. During this evaporation process, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the air that the evaporator fan blows across the evaporator fins. The cooling of the refrigerant in the condenser increases the efficiency of the heat exchange process in the evaporator.

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Condenser fan

The condenser fan moves air across the condenser to enhance the cooling process of the hot, compressed refrigerant that flows through the condenser.

Control thermostat

The control thermostat is mounted on the control panel. A knob on the front of the control thermostat is rotated to set the desired room temperature. The control thermostat senses the room temperature through a sensing bulb and cycles the compressor on and off to maintain the room temperature that is set.

Electronic control board

The electronic control board controls the major electro-mechanical components in the window air conditioner. The electronic control board receives input from temperature sensors to monitor the temperatures inside the room and at the evaporator. With this information, the electronic control board manages the on/off cycling of the compressor to cool the room to the set temperature. The electronic control board activates the compressor and fans when it senses that the room temperature exceeds the set temperature.

Evaporator

The evaporator is the heat exchanger that provides the cooling for the window air conditioner. Low-pressure liquid refrigerant moves through the evaporator where it turns to vapor. The latent heat of vaporization is absorbed from the air that’s blown across the metal fins in the evaporator, cooling the air.

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Evaporator fan

The evaporator fan is mounted behind the evaporator assembly. It moves air across the evaporator fins and into the room for cooling.

Refrigerant

Refrigerant is the fluid—such as Freon—that flows through the compressor and sealed system of the window air conditioner. The refrigerant enters the compressor and is compressed to a hot, high-pressure gas. The hot refrigerant gas then flows through the condenser where it cools and condenses to a liquid before entering the low-pressure evaporator. When the refrigerant enters the low-pressure environment of the evaporator, the liquid refrigerant evaporates to a vapor. The evaporating refrigerant absorbs the heat from the air that blows across the metal fins in the evaporator. The air cools as it blows across the metal fins of the evaporator.

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Support bracket

The support bracket levels and stabilizes the air conditioner cabinet from the outside of your home.

Thermistor

The thermistor is a temperature sensor in the window air conditioner that sends information to the electronic control board.

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User interface control board

The user interface control board is a circuit board with selection buttons and display components, which is mounted on the control panel of the air conditioner. The user interface control board sends signals to the electronic control board to communicate the window air conditioner’s settings.

Window foam seal

Window foam seal fits between the air conditioner cabinet and the window opening to prevent outside air leaks into your home.

Wire harness

The wire harness is a collection of wires, cut to specific lengths, that connects the various components in the window air conditioner. The ends of the wires typically have connection plugs or spades so that they attach to the correct components in the window air conditioner.