Air conditioning systems that are designed for residential and light commercial use are divided into three sections. Within each section there are many components. The main components are the condensing unit, the evaporator unit, and the thermostat. In some geographic areas, some of the names might be slightly different. For instance, some might call the evaporator unit the air handler. Both are correct.
Condensing units are installed wherever the builder thinks it will be cost effective. Because some of you might live in a house, some a condominium, some a duplex, we have written this book for all installation areas. Those of you that can point to your condensing units are lucky. Many owners don’t even know where their condensing unit is located. On a service call, you might spend some time trying to locate the customer’s unit. It might be under the parking area. Sometimes it is placed on the roof in clusters with other units. This gives you an idea that in certain areas, there might be a little time consumed in finding the condensing unit. When you find it and it is located in a unique place, make a notation on the evaporator unit or entrance panel where the unit is located.
Condensers can transfer heat using air or water as a transfer medium. Air-cooled condensing units are usually located in the outdoor air to be efficient. Water-cooled units are different. The heat transfer medium can be piped to the unit regardless where it is. A package unit is a unit that has only one section. The condensing unit, evaporator and sometimes the thermostat are located within a single cabinet. I tell you this to save you the embarrassment of looking for an air-cooled condenser on a water-cooled unit.
Before you open the cabinet of the condensing unit, turn off the electrical power supply to it. Always remove the panel slowly for many reasons. You might come face to face with an animal or a pressure refrigerant line about to burst. With the panel removed, you can look inside and begin to identify some of the component parts that make the condensing unit operate.