What does an Air Conditioning Compressor do?

For many Florida homeowners, what their air conditioning systems do is nothing short of magic. Several components within play a key role in keeping indoor temperatures comfortable, but none are more important than the AC compressor. This

How Air Conditioners Work

To better understand what the compressor does, let’s take a quick look at how your air conditioning system works. Every AC unit has two coils, an evaporator coil located within the air handler and a condenser coil located in an outdoor cabinet. Both are connected to each other and filled with a gas-based refrigerant.

The refrigerant plays a key part in how air conditioners work. As refrigerant enters the evaporator coil, it captures heat from air passing over the coil. The refrigerant transfers this captured heat to the condenser coil where it’s released outdoors. Once the heat is released, the cycle starts over.

In the meantime, the air that’s passed over the evaporator coil makes its way through your home’s ductwork and into each room. The process is similar for a ductless mini split system, except there are no ducts.

The Compressor’s Role

The refrigerant not only needs a way to move between the evaporator and condenser coils, but it also needs to be put under pressure to work effectively. Enter the AC compressor.

In a nutshell, the compressor compresses the refrigerant until it becomes a high-pressure gas. This also raises the refrigerant’s temperature. The resulting high pressure pushes the refrigerant into the condenser where it can shed its heat and subsequently condense into a liquid form.

Once in liquid form but still under high pressure, the refrigerant travels through an expansion valve that restricts fluid flow while reducing its pressure. The refrigerant is then able to enter the evaporator coil as a low-pressure liquid capable of absorbing heat.

Common AC Compressor Issues

While AC compressors are generally built to last for the life of the AC system, there are some issues you could run into throughout its lifespan:

  • Lubrication issues
  • Excess refrigerant within the AC system
  • Clogged or damaged refrigerant lines
  • Rust and/or corrosion
  • Air and/or moisture inside the compressor
  • Overheating issues

Like any other air conditioning component, your compressor needs regularly scheduled maintenance in order to perform at its best. However, the compressor is one of those items that’s best left up to one of our HVAC technicians to maintain. A skilled technician can identify any of the above issues and make efforts to fix them in a safe and prompt manner.

Turn to Our Experts

Don’t be without air conditioning due to an AC compressor problem. Our HVAC experts are here to help you get on the right track and enjoy a cooler home this season. If you’re overdue for a new air conditioning system, we can help you choose your next system and install it with the care and courtesy you’ve come to expect.

Get in touch with us today to learn more or to schedule your next appointment.

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