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The AC Compressor—The Heart of Your Home’s Cooling

compressor-in-ac-unitYou don’t need to understand all the workings of your home’s air conditioning system to enjoy the comfort it brings to your house, just how you don’t need to understand the construction of a computer to be able to benefit from one. But a bit of knowledge can go a long way when it comes to the cooling and heating in your home, since you’ll have a better understanding of when you need AC repair services in Cherry Hill, NJ, what to expect from repairs, and when it’s best to have a replacement AC.

With that introduction out of the way, we’re going to look at the component of the air conditioner that is at the (literal) heart of the cooling in your house: the compressor.

The Job of the Compressor

The compressor is the component in a central air conditioning system responsible for the heat exchanger process. This is how an AC cools a home: heat is moved from the air inside and this heat is then sent to the outside. An air conditioner doesn’t “create” cooling, because cooling isn’t a form of energy. It instead removes heat energy to lower air temperature.

For heat exchanger to occur, a chemical blend called refrigerant must pass through two sets of coils: indoor and outdoor coils. The refrigerant evaporates and condenses to absorb and release heat. But the refrigerant needs energy applied to it or it won’t go anywhere or change temperature. Circulating room-temperature refrigerant around an air conditioner won’t do anything.

This is where the compressor does its job. Refrigerant starts the heat exchange cycle inside the compressor. The motor powers the component to compress the refrigerant, which raises its pressure and temperatures. The refrigerant becomes a hot, high-pressure gas. It will then move along the refrigerant lines and through the outside coil where its high heat is release through condensation. The cooled refrigerant passes through an expansion valve to drop its pressure and further lower its temperature so when it passes through the evaporator coil, it’s chilled enough to remove heat from the air by evaporation. The refrigerant then returns to the compressor to start the process over again.

The compressor won’t run all the time when you have the AC on. You’ll hear it periodically cycle down after the thermostat registers the house is at the temperature you want. Later, you’ll hear it turn back on as necessary. The compressor consumes a large amount of electricity, so it’s best for it not to run constantly. (If it is running all the time, you either have the thermostat set too low or there’s a malfunction.)

A failed compressor may mean it’s time to have the entire air conditioning system replaced. Call for our technicians to examine the system, and we can tell you the most cost-effective way forward. We’re family-owned and operated, and so we understand how to earn customer trust by treating families right. You can expect honesty from us—we always do the best job and never take shortcuts.

Gibson Heating & Cooling serves the Cherry Hill, NJ area. Schedule air conditioning repairs with the local experts.

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