What Is an Air Conditioning Compressor?

close up of air compressor

The air conditioning compressor is a part of the exterior unit that alters the condition of the refrigerant, on its way to releasing heat out of your home. Here is how your compressor works, and what you must do to keep it in good working order.

Four Steps to Air Conditioning

If you start with your air conditioning compressor, you can imagine as the entire air conditioning system works to remove heat and humidity from the indoor air. The compressor takes low-pressure liquid refrigerant and compresses it into a high-pressure gas. The gas allows the condenser to release the heat collected inside the home, so that the condenser can convert the refrigerant back into a high-pressure liquid. The refrigerant goes to the expansion valve, which restricts the flow and converts the high-pressure liquid into a low-pressure liquid. The liquid refrigerant is then sent into the home where the evaporator coil allows the refrigerant to absorb heat from the air passed across the coil.

Maintaining the Correct Pressure

The key to keeping the system running properly is to maintain the ideal pressure. If the compressor does not convert the refrigerant to high-pressure gas, the condenser cannot take the high-pressure gas and release the heat. This may result in ineffective cooling, as well as long-term damage to various parts of the unit. During inspection of the unit, your Sacramento HVAC technician may test the suction and discharge pressures of the compressor, as well as the temperature of the gas running through the compressor, to make sure that they are returning adequate and accurate numbers.

Compressor Upkeep

The compressor is run by a motor, which is considered one of the more expensive and crucial components of your air conditioning system. The exterior unit needs to be kept clear of greenery and debris on the outside, with plenty of airflow across the condenser coils. Any fault in the interior evaporator coil can also put additional strain on the compressor motor, which will turn on and off repeatedly trying to adjust for other system failures. The refrigerant line should also be kept in good condition, so that the amount of refrigerant running through the system is always ideal.

Troubleshooting Problems

The best thing you can do if you suspect a problem with the compressor is to arrange for air conditioning repair in Sacramento. A broken compressor is an expensive repair or replacement. As soon as you notice inefficient cooling or an air conditioner that seems to be having trouble starting, you should schedule a consultation. A compressor that is struggling but still basically functioning could break beyond repair if you wait too long.
Without your air conditioning compressor, you could not have the heat removed from your home. Your compressor is the key to allowing your condenser to release heat outside, instead of leaving it inside your home. Contact Ace Plumbing to schedule air conditioner maintenance or repair for your compressor.