How Does an Air Conditioner Compressor Work?

How does an air conditioner compressor work

Air conditioning is a common piece of equipment in many households and commercial spaces. An air conditioner works by removing heat from the air inside your home, sending the heat outdoors, and recirculating newly cooled air throughout your house. However,  have you ever wondered how your air conditioner brings in cooled air inside your house? 

One of the key components of an air conditioner is the compressor, which plays a crucial role in this secret cooling process. Therefore, in this article, we will explore how does an air conditioner compressor work and the different types of compressors.

Air Conditioning System Parts

Central air conditioning systems are made up of three parts i.e. an evaporator, a condenser, and a compressor. The compressor serves as a bridge between the evaporator, located inside your air conditioner, and the condenser, the unit outside your home.

Air Conditioning Process

The air conditioner pulls warm air through return air vents from rooms throughout your house. Coils in the evaporator unit, which are filled with refrigerant, absorb the heat. The heat-filled refrigerant is pumped outdoors to the condenser unit so that the heat can be released. The refrigerant travels back to the evaporator where the process begins again.

Air Conditioner Compressor

An air conditioner compressor is a mechanical device that compresses refrigerant gas in the air conditioning system. The compressor increases the pressure of the refrigerant, which increases the temperature of the gas. The high-pressure and high-temperature gas then flows through the air conditioning system to cool and dehumidify the air. 

How Does an Air Conditioner Compressor Work?

How does an air conditioner compressor work

The compressor is located in the outdoor unit of an air conditioner and is driven by an electric motor. The compressor has two main components – a piston and a cylinder. The piston moves up and down inside the cylinder, compressing the refrigerant gas as it moves. The compressor also has valves that open and close to allow the refrigerant to flow in and out of the compressor.

The cooling process begins when the refrigerant gas enters the compressor. As the piston moves down, it creates a vacuum, and the low-pressure gas is drawn into the cylinder. As the piston moves up, it compresses the gas, increasing its pressure and temperature. The hot, high-pressure gas then flows out of the compressor and into the condenser.

Types of Air Conditioner Compressors

There are two main types of air conditioner compressors: reciprocating and rotary.

Reciprocating compressors

Reciprocating compressors use pistons and cylinders to compress the refrigerant gas. These compressors are typically found in smaller air conditioning units. They are ideal for residential use. They are simple, reliable, and energy-efficient, making them a popular choice for home cooling.

Rotary compressors

Rotary compressors, on the other hand, use a rotating vane or scroll to compress the refrigerant gas. These compressors are found in larger air conditioning units and are ideal for commercial use. They are more complex than reciprocating compressors and require more maintenance. However, they are more efficient and provide better cooling.

Hence, the air conditioner compressor is a critical component of an air conditioning system that is responsible for compressing the refrigerant gas and circulating cooler air. Understanding how does an air conditioner compressor work and the different types available can help you choose the best air conditioner for your needs. However, when purchasing an air conditioner, be sure to consider the size, efficiency, and type of compressor to ensure that you get the best performance and value for your money.

How do you know if your AC compressor needs repair?

How does an air conditioner compressor work

Since the compressor is one of the crucial parts of an air conditioning system, it can sometimes develop problems. Be mindful of these signs to know if your Air conditioner compressor needs repair:

  • Strange noises coming from the unit
  • A drastic change in airflow or indoor temperature
  • Leaking moisture or refrigerant around the unit

If you are experiencing any of these above signs always rely on a professional HVAC contractor to handle the situation.

Air Conditioner Compressor Maintenance

Air conditioner compressor maintenance is inevitable for the smooth and uninterrupted functioning of your air conditioner. Only a professional and experienced HVAC company should perform any tune-ups on your air conditioner’s compressor. During an air conditioning maintenance visit, Alturas HVAC air conditioning service technicians will check the refrigerant levels to make sure enough refrigerant is present. Running your air conditioner with too little refrigerant can put stress on the compressor. Over time, this stress could cause the compressor to fail.

Now that you understand how does an air conditioner compressor work, keep it working properly and efficiently by scheduling an air conditioning maintenance appointment today. Call Alturas HVAC contractors now. 

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