Your air conditioner has a lot of different parts and components that must
be able to work together in order to function. Most people don’t
really know exactly what these components are, and in order to help you
get a better understanding of how your system works, on this blog we’ll
discuss one of the single most important pieces to the puzzle: your compressor.
Where Is It?
Your compressor is part of your outdoor air conditioning unit, which means
it’s located inside the large box that houses your blower fan, cooling
fins, condenser coil, and more. Therefore, when a technician says your
compressor may be the problem, you’ll have to go outside of your
home to check.
Compressors come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, so it’s
hard to tell you exactly what yours looks like. However, because these
components are so critical to your air conditioner as a whole, and they
operate using a large amount of electricity, it’s strongly advised
you let a professional handle the job for you if you need a compressor service.
What Is It?
When most people hear the term “compressor,” they think of
an air compressor, which draws in air from the atmosphere around and crams
it into a restricted space, such as a holding tank. This way you can actually
fit far more air in the tank than the actual cubic volume it occupies.
Your air conditioner compressor does essentially the same thing: takes
a gas and squishes it into a much smaller space than the volume it occupies.
This gas is known as refrigerant, and the process of compressing it into
a high-pressure gas also dramatically increases its temperature—as
high as hundreds of degrees. Why you want to do this in an air conditioner,
when you’re trying to
cool your home? Simple: because extremely hot refrigerant can still be cooled
by the air outside, even on tremendously hot days.
Think of how your car still manages to stay cool enough to operate smoothly,
even when driving for hours on end on a scorching hot summer day. This
is because the air outside, even though it’s warm, isn’t nearly
as warm as the temperatures in your radiator and engine bay. Thus, when
this atmospheric air comes in, it’s actually cool relatively speaking,
and thus can still be used to absorb heat.
After this boiling-hot gaseous refrigerant comes out of your compressor
(while still at high pressure), it’s fed through your condenser
coil, where air from the atmosphere around it is pulled across the coil
in order to absorb the heat from the refrigerant. By the time the refrigerant
completes its journey through this coil, it’s still a high-pressure
gas, but a significantly cooler one. This way when the refrigerant meets
your expansion chamber, where it’s converted from a high-pressure
gas to a low-pressure fluid, the expansion process rapidly cools the substance,
allowing it to then absorb heat from inside your home, which creates the
cool, refreshing air you depend on.
Is Something Wrong?
What are some signs that something is wrong with your compressor? It can
be hard to tell, but there are a few key indicators that there may be
an issue with this important device. The first one is a loud screeching
noise coming from your outdoor unit. While this might also be indicative
of a blower motor or fan belt issue, a faulty compressor can also create
a painful grinding sound that will make you want to shut off your system
The second sign there may be an issue is if your system turns on and appears
to be functioning properly, but your system isn’t making any cold
air, or is in fact blowing
warm air into your home. Unless the compressor can create the heat-absorbing
pressure in your refrigerant lines, the expansion chamber that cools your
refrigerant is completely useless. In this case, your refrigerant is more
absorb heat from outside and then carry it back in, resulting in an increase
in interior temperature.
If you’re having trouble with your air conditioner,
contact the skilled Palm Beach County air conditioning and heating team from Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC today!