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In my apartment, the heating and cooling seems to flow through the same central aid conditioning system. The device used to heat the air is called the furnace. I wonder what the name for the device that cools down the air? Are they not the same device?


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The device that cools the air is called an evaporator. It takes liquid freon from the outside compressor unit and turns it into a gas. This process results in a lower temperature and your indoor air is cooled by it.

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It's typically called the 'air conditioning unit'. The unit consists of a number of parts. A handy diagram:

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In a central air situation, the evaporator would exist as part of your duct system and be installed typically near the furnace. The compressor and condensor would exist as a unit outside. The two connected via a small loop of copper pipe (typically) of which the fluid passes through.

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It is possible that if it really is only one device, it might be a heat pump. However, because of the way an air conditioner operates, the compressor is typically outside and just connected via piping to the air handling unit, so it might not be apparent if you just look inside your HVAC room. Both a full-on air conditioner and a heat pump require an outside unit, however. And just to cover all the bases, a device that cools the air is called an 'Air conditoner'.

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