It’s difficult to call any component in an air conditioning system the most important one, because they are all important. Air conditioners are intricate refrigeration devices that depend on a balance of multiple parts working in peak condition: fans, motors, capacitors, refrigerant, coils, expansion valves, etc.
But one component does deserve special mention: the compressor. To help you better understand how your home’s AC keeps you and your family cool through the Los Angeles, CA summers, we’ll explain the role of the compressor and why it’s so vital.
If you need assistance with your AC to repair a malfunctioning compressor or to provide the regular maintenance that will help protect the compressor from wear and tear, call on the trained technicians at JW Heating & Air.
The basics of the air conditioning compressor
If the air conditioning system was mapped out like the human body, the refrigerant would be the blood and the compressor the heart. The compressor is essentially a kind of pump that runs from a motor, and it’s the location where the electrical energy put into the air conditioning system is passed to the refrigerant to make it circulate and carry out heat exchange.
The compressor’s motor turns a crankshaft that moves a piston. The downward movement of the piston draws cold liquid refrigerant into the chamber through the suction line. On the upstroke, the piston compresses the refrigerant, which changes it into a high-pressure gas. This gas then moves out the discharge valve of the compressor and heads for the outdoor condenser coil, starting the heat exchange process.
Basically, if the compressor doesn’t work, no heat exchange occurs and an air conditioning system turns into nothing more than a set of large fans moving room-temperature air around.
There are different types of compressors for ACs, but your central air conditioning system is either a rotary compressor or a scroll compressor. (The latter are common in new high-efficiency systems.) The newest innovation is variable speed compressor. You can expect that a skilled HVAC technician will be familiar with all of these compressor types and be able to handle any repairs yours may need.
Because problems in an AC often seem like compressor troubles when the compressor is actually in good shape, it’s vital that you never try to fiddle with the compressor on your own. Call on professionals the moment you think anything is wrong with your cooling system, and let them find out what the root of the problem is and fix it correctly.