The modern air conditioner runs through a precision balance of components that all contribute toward making a home feel cool and inviting during a humid Florida summer. Each part of an AC needs to remain in excellent operating conditioning, but a few of these components deserve special attention. One is the compressor, which is essentially the “heart” of an air conditioner. Without a working compressor, you won’t have cool air… period.
If you encounter problems with your AC’s compressor, or if it fails and you need to have it replaced, call Ierna’s Heating & Cooling and speak to our experts in air conditioning in Wesley Chapel, FL. Don’t worry about the time of day: we have 24-hour emergency service so you won’t have to sweat it out too long with a busted AC.
The Basics of the Compressor
In a split air conditioning system—the standard central AC found in most homes—the compressor is located in the outdoor unit. Its job is to circulate the refrigerant necessary for heat exchange through the coils of the indoor and outdoor unit, and also to apply the energy to the refrigerant. When you think of the air conditioner requiring power to provide cooling, you’re thinking of the electricity sent to run the compressor. (Electricity also powers the fans, although they do not provide cooling on their own, and can operate in “fan only” mode.)
A motor powers the compressor, which is itself constructed like a motor, with a cylinder and piston. The compressor compress the gaseous refrigerant, and this raises the refrigerant’s temperature so that changes it into a high pressure gas. The high pressure forces the refrigerant through a line that leads to the outdoor coil, where the refrigerant releases its heat and condenses into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant then continues its trip to the indoor unit, where the refrigerant evaporates into a gas again and absorbs the heat from inside your home. The refrigerant than returns to the compressor and cycle starts again.
The compressor undergoes a great deal of stress during a cooling season in Florida, and it will wear down the same way a motor will. Grime and dust contamination will also affect it, leading to it becoming stuck. This will stop the cooling cycle, and usually the compressor must be replaced. A malfunction in the compressor’s motor will also stop cooling. Compressors can develop leaks at their connectors, causing a loss of refrigerant. Any drop in refrigerant charge can lead to damage to the compressor.