Some Air Conditioner Terms to Help You This Summer

At Magic Touch Mechanical, we believe our customers deserve to have the best education about their heating and air conditioning systems. Of course, you can always rely on us whenever you need air conditioning repair in Gilbert, AZ or elsewhere near Phoenix, AZ Metro-Area. While it’s true that no amount of knowledge we share on our website or even in person could allow you to install or repair a cooling system yourself (HVAC requires years of training, formal education, experience  and thousands of dollars worth of HVAC tools and equipment to do what we do), knowing more about how your air conditioner works will make it easier for you to tell when something is wrong with it. Knowing more about how an air conditioner works will also help you understand why routine AC maintenance and service is so important.

Having a well functioning air conditioning system in Phoenix, Arizona is not a luxury, it’s a must have (it is supposed to be 120 degrees here today). In this post, we’d like to help you get to know your air conditioning system a bit better by defining a few important air conditioner terms. We’re here, and ready to provide air conditioning repairs when you have problems!

Split Air Conditioner

Most of the time when HVAC experts talk about central air conditioning in a home, they’re referring to a split air conditioner. This is any AC where there are two separate units, one located outdoors (usually in the backyard) and the other indoors (typically in the attic, garage, or a hallway closet). The opposite of a split air conditioner is a packaged unit, where all the components are in a single cabinet located outside (usually on the roof, which is why these are often referred to as rooftop units). Packaged units are more common in commercial HVAC systems on the East Coast but are very common in homes here in the Phoenix, AZ area.

Yes, we also work with commercial HVAC in Chandler, AZ and throughout the Valley. If you own a business or restaurant in the area, make us your HVAC contractor or Refrigeration Contractor of choice!


This is a blend of chemicals that’s responsible for carrying out heat exchange, the movement of heat from one location to another. A refrigerant blend can easily shift between liquid and gas forms, making it ideal for absorbing and releasing heat. Refrigerant is not “used up” as the air conditioner works. As long as there are no leaks in the air conditioning system, the refrigerant level of the AC (known as its charge) will remain the same for the system’s service life. Most residential AC’s use a refrigerant blend known as R-410A nowadays, whereas in older equipment it was much more common to find them running on R-22 (what many people refer to as Freon).

The Compressor

When you hear about air conditioning repairs, the compressor will be mentioned often. This component is housed in the outdoor component of a split air conditioning system. The compressor is responsible for changing low-pressure refrigerant to high-pressure refrigerant. The compressor is like the “heart” of an AC; if it isn’t functioning properly it can’t pump or pressurize the refrigerant, and the refrigerant won’t move through the system, There can be no heat exchange (cooling) when a compressor is not working on an AC Unit.

The Condenser

The term condenser is often used to refer to the entire outdoor cabinet of a split system. The more specific definition, however is, it’s the component where the air conditioner releases heat to the outdoors by changing the hot refrigerant into a liquid. One of the components in the condenser is the outdoor fan motor, commonly called the condenser fan motor. This motor’s job is to expel the heat created by the hot refrigerant in the condenser coil.

The Evaporator

Here’s the component that’s the other side of the heat exchange process. The evaporator (sometimes referred to as the indoor coil) is where cold liquid refrigerant is warmed up as it absorbs heat from the air. The air around the evaporator is left cooler, and this is what will be sent into the house. This cooler air is is blown into the ductwork (air ducts) via the blower motor also called the indoor fan motor.

The Air Handler

This word can be used to describe the entire indoor unit. The narrower definition is it’s the part of the indoor unit that contains the blower fan. (Usually the evaporator is housed above it.) The blower fan sends warm air over the evaporator, where it’s cooled, and then heads into the ventilation system.

Get in touch with our team today for service in Tempe, AZ for all your air conditioning needs. We’ll see that you enjoy a comfortable summer this year … and many years after that.

Magic Touch Mechanical offers Comfort, Health & Energy Savings.