What Is An Aircon Compressor, And How Does It Work?

Aircon Parts Guide: Overview of the Basic Principle
What Is An Aircon Condenser, and How It Works?

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The compressor is one of an air conditioner’s most essential parts. It helps regulate the humidity level and temperature inside your office building or house to ensure you are comfortable at all times.

But what does a compressor do exactly? Why are they so crucial for your daily life? The following is everything necessary you need to know about this incredible piece of equipment!

What is an aircon compressor?

The compressor transports the refrigerant between the condenser coils and the evaporator. That causes the refrigerant to change into a gas or liquid as necessary. The compressor can be considered the heat part of the air conditioning system and is the refrigerant’s blood. The compressor pumps the refrigerant through the system to ensure it runs correctly and is in good condition.

The AC’s compressor is the component of the system that increases the temperature and pressure of the vapour refrigerant. The compressor increases the pressure of the refrigerant to ensure that a pressure difference is produced.

How Does An Aircon Compressor Work?

When the refrigerant leaves the air conditioner’s evaporator, it is transformed into a low-pressure gas form. To release the heat absorbed by the refrigerant, the refrigerant must be in higher temperature, higher pressure form. The molecules are packed together tightly by the compressor with a gas-based refrigerant.

This process increases the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant. Heat moves from the warm surfaces to the cool ones. Therefore, the heat within the high-temperature refrigerant is transferred to the cooler outside via the condenser to release it.

The compressor is on the inside part of the condenser unit.  This part starts the chain that cools the refrigerant down. It is critical to be aware that heat moves towards cooler areas. When the room’s temperature goes through the AC’s evaporator, heat is removed from the air. The air’s heat is transferred to the refrigerant and is then fed into the compressor.

The refrigerant gets condensed and compressed into fluid form. It is then released under pressure. The refrigerant at this point is much hotter than when it first came in. The condenser coils dissipate the heat.

After the refrigerant has made it to the end of the loop, it will be cold again and is fed through the evaporator coils. The cycle will continue as long as your air conditioner is turned on. Certain HVAC systems contain compressors that reverse this process, and the output is hot air instead of cool air.

What Are The Main Differences Between Condensers And Compressors

An air compressor is a kind of mechanical device that reduces the volume of the gas to add pressure as the AC condenser takes the pressurized gas and is transformed into a liquid-vapour form.

Compress means to reduce in size, volume, or quantity. To better understand how AC compressors work, first, you must understand the way refrigeration works. Briefly put, refrigeration allows an air conditioner to get rid of the heat inside your home and transfer it outside. This process cools down or warms the inside of your house, depending on what season it is.

AC condensers have been designed to transform heat from a working fluid to a second one. It depends on the heat that is transferred through the phase change. Whenever vapour enters the condenser, its temperature is higher compared to the secondary fluid. Next, the vapour cools down after it reaches the saturation temperature, is changed to liquid form and is released outdoors.

Is It Worth It To Replace Your Aircon Compressor?

The compressor is among the air conditioner’s most critical and expensive parts. It has a fairly long lifespan and, in newer systems, rarely dies. Also, older compressors tend to use more power compared to newer ones. Depending on the age of your AC, it probably is best to purchase a new air conditioner instead of replacing an expensive part.

However, if your compressor is under warranty still, you should replace it. Other than it, you will need to pay for the compressor’s total cost along with the installation charges.

In that case, it makes total sense to buy a new air conditioner uni rather than replace the compressor, which is very expensive as well. New units are more reliable and energy-efficient compared to older air conditioning systems.

Can Only the AC Compressor Be Replaced?

As previously mentioned, the compressor is a critical component of the AC’s condensing unit (outside unit). It is only recommended to replace the compressor when its warranty has not expired yet. If it isn’t under warranty, then the next best option is to replace the whole outdoor unit. Just the compressor can be replaced if:

  • The indoor unit was replaced recently
  • The unit’s other components or parts are still intact
  • You have to pay the labour costs (when the compressor is still under warranty)
  • You are on a tight budget

You might also want to consider replacing only the compressor if all other components are still under warranty. When your compressor is under warranty, then the labour costs will be your only expense. That will be close to zero when compared to a new AC unit or compressor price. If you are considering taking this approach, make sure to account for all of the different involved factors (materials needed, time, and labour). Replacing a compressor is a very challenging and time-consuming process.

The best idea when the unit is not under warranty is usually to replace the outdoor unit. You might be very tempted to replace just the faulty component; the cost of labour, additional materials, and a new compressor will be nearly the same as buying a new AC unit.

Most likely, a new compressor will have a limited warranty of 1 to 2 yea. There is a fairly high chance that the unit will fail within around one year after the compressor is replaced—the risk of facing the same problem in one or years. For most people, that is just too much.

When A Compressor Fails, What Happens?

The primary role of the compressor is to maintain the refrigerant’s pressure so that it flows through the system properly. Without the refrigerant, the AC will be unable to keep your car or house cool.

Usually, the compressor cycles of and on as needed to ensure the refrigerant stays pressurized. Therefore, continuous processes are subject to the moving parts’ prolonged use and constant wear and tear. Over time, thus, its efficiency might be reduced as the air conditioner continues to be used. You might need to replace the unit or compressor if they die. However, the compressor will give warning signs a few months up to one year before it breaks down.

The first sign that you should watch for is the inability of the AC to keep your car o house cool the way it could in the past. The unit might also produce strange sounds ad other signs. However, don’t make assumptions if your AC appears to be struggling to keep up with keeping your house cool.

There are several other factors (low oil levels, leaking refrigerant, etc.) that first need to be eliminated before you determine that the compressor is the problem. HVAC technicians are the only ones who can determine the status and condition of a compressor.

After A Compressor Fails, What Happens Next?

Compressors fail due to mechanical problems. It mainly occurs when the compressor locks up, which produces a loud shudder and buzz before it stops. When investigating, you will not find an open or failed short.

If that occurs, the only options you will have are to buy a new unit or see if you can replace the compressor. However, some tests need to be conducted to ensure the other AC parts are not causing the problems or have not been affected by the compressor.

Calling an AC technician to conduct the tests is the best approach to take. Technicians are better equipped to handle this issue since they have the necessary tools and technical knowledge to do the job right.

If the technician confirms the worst, he will either recommend a new unit or replace the compressor. The technicians can also ensure whether or not the compressor is under warranty still.

If your unit is not under warranty, you will need to pay for the unit’s labour cost and a new compressor. Ask your technicians to confirm how much the total cost will be to replace the compressor. Then compare than with how much it will cost to buy a new AC unit.

Consider replacing your compressor if it will cost less than half of what a new unit will cost. Only invest in a brand new air conditioner if the cost to replace the compressor is a lot higher.

Key Takeaways

Finally, call us if you would like to learn more about aircon compressors. We will answer any questions or concerns you may have, and we will be happy to give you free advice on the next steps you should take if your compressor fails.

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