What Is an Air Conditioning Condenser? A Sacramento Plumber Explains

ac condenser

There are many crucial components of your air conditioner, and your condenser is one of them. It is so vital that the exterior AC unit is often called “the condenser,” even though this is just one function of the appliance itself. This guide shows you what the AC condenser does, and how you can take care of it.

What Is the Air Conditioning Process?

There are many steps to the air conditioning cycle, and the condenser is an important part. Refrigerant is sent from the exterior unit to the evaporator coil. There, the cool, liquid refrigerant absorbs heat from the air and turns into a hot vapor. The vaporized refrigerant is sent back outside to the compressor, which compresses the low-pressure gas and sends it to the condenser. The condenser allows the gas to release heat, which is expelled outdoors. Without the condenser, the refrigerant cannot be cooled and release its heat outside, so that it can be taken back inside.

How Does the Condenser Work?

Inside most condensers is a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is often a series of tubes that allow the hot, high-pressure refrigerant vapor to pass through several times. As the refrigerant goes through the tubes, fins allow the heat to escape. A fan located inside the condensing unit brings in cooler air to take the heat and then blows it back out of the unit. Once the refrigerant is cool, it turns back into a liquid and is ready for the next cycle of air conditioning.

Which Problems Could Happen to the Condenser?

Like any other electrical component, the condenser can have problems that affect function or may stop the air conditioner from working entirely. The condensing coils and fins, being somewhat exposed to the outdoors, can get dirty. If they are not kept clean, it can block airflow and slow the process of cooling the refrigerant. If the fan motor breaks down over time, it may need to be replaced. On older units, replacing the condenser may require the replacement of other components, particularly if the system uses obsolete R-22 refrigerant.

How Do I Maintain My Condenser?

The best way to keep your condenser in good condition is to keep it clean and ensure good function of your entire air conditioning system. Preserving 1-2 feet of clear airflow around the exterior unit minimizes the likelihood that the condenser coils and fins will be blocked by leaves or other debris. If you pay attention to your system regularly, you will know if there is something wrong. A failure in any part of the system, such as the evaporator coil, may force the condenser to work harder. This could cause the component to fail prematurely. As such, you should request Sacramento air conditioning repair as soon as you notice a problem.

You count on your air conditioning condenser to cool refrigerant so that it can continue to keep your home appropriately cool in summer. With these tips from Ace Plumbing, you can provide better upkeep for your condenser, and preserve its ideal condition longer.