An air compressor is in air conditioner like a heart. Its primary function is to pump refrigerant via coils that run all over the AC unit. The refrigerant absorbs and expels heat as your blood does with oxygen. In this article, you’ll learn more about the vital function of the air conditioner compressor and see the exact path travelled by the refrigerant throughout the AC system and back into the compressor.
How Does an Air Conditioner Compressors Work?
Does your AC have an outside unit? That’s where you’ll find the compressor. It works in conjunction with the condenser coils and fan. Inside the home is where you find the indoor unit, also called the evaporator or furnace. It houses the evaporator coil, condensate drain, plenum, and blower. So, what happens during the regular operation?
Step 1: The compressor pumps the refrigeration fluid through the copper tubing. Tubes generally run from the condenser coil (on the outside) to the evaporator coil (on the inside).
Step 2: Inside the evaporator coil, the super cold refrigerant draws heat from the indoor air as it’s blown over the coils. The heat exchange process entails air losing its heat to the refrigerant fluid. At this point, the refrigerant fluid changes from a liquid into a gas. Some of the moisture condenses and collects in the condensate tray.
Step 3: In vapour form, the refrigerant travels back to the outside unit. The compressor pressurizes it and pumps it through the condenser coils that utilize metal fins and a fan to speed up heat loss.
Step 4: Finally, the refrigerant fluid passes through an expansion device, emerging as a low-temperature liquid that’s pumped to the indoor evaporator coils for a complete cycle.
The operational principle may differ based on varying designs. But in essence, the role of the air conditioner’s compressor entails pressurizing and pumping the refrigerant fluid.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Compressor in an Air Conditioner?
It takes about $1200 to replace the air compressor, but the cost may be as high as $2800. Nearly half of the expenses pay for labour as contractor rates range from $50 to $150 per hour.
You may weigh the benefits of replacing the air compressor versus replacing the whole unit. Getting a new unit may be significantly more expensive but provides a more permanent solution. For instance, if your unit has lasted for more than ten years, it may be worthwhile to replace it as it could be drawing too much energy. Also, consider if the warranty covers any repair or replacement costs. Warranties typically last for 5 to 10 years. If you’re looking for information on an air conditioning system in Phoenix, read this article
How to Tell if AC Compressor is Bad?
As the heart of the AC system, it’s better to keep the air compressor in tip-top shape. Having the skills to recognize if it’s about to go bad is also important as it may help you save a lot of costs.
Refrigerant leaks can also be harmful to the health of your family. So, here are some tips to tell if the compressor is going bad:
01. Ineffective Cooling:
You may check if the AC unit is cooling air as efficiently as possible by holding your hand over the blower fan. It should be blowing cool air. What’s more, the outside fan should be blowing out hot air as the refrigerant releases heat to the surroundings. If the expelled air is cool or lukewarm, you can consider it as a warning sign.
Your AC unit must blow hygienic air. To check it, read this blog.
02. Strange Noises Emerging From the Outside Unit:
The AC typically consists of moving parts, and if there is a problem, it will produce strange noises that indicate a mechanical problem. Listen for clicking, screeching, or rumbling noises. Also, check for excessive vibration.
03. Failure to Turn On:
Both the outside AC compressor and the fan should be working. But sometimes, the fan may be working, but the compressor is not producing any noise, indicating that it’s off and that there is a serious problem.
04. When the Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping:
Circuit breakers typically trip because of an overload. It may signal that the compressor is attempting to draw more electricity than usual. So how can you tell if the AC is causing the circuit breaker to trip? Well, check if the AC loses power and shuts off at random. Consider if the unit requires a long time to begin a cooling cycle after initially turning it on. Note if there is a smoking or burning smell emerging from the outside of the air conditioning unit.
05. Presence of Leaks:
Leaks may indicate a serious problem with the condenser coils or compressor. Refrigerant fluids are typically harmful to human health, so address the issue quickly and efficiently.
Well, apart from above signs, Gharpedia has written article for common air conditioner repair.
How Technicians Check if the Compressor Motor is Damaged?
The technician will disconnect the power and open the condensing unit to access the air compressor. They will use a multi meter to measure resistance levels on each winding.
AC Compressor not Working but Fan is Running
This is a common problem that people experience. So, what could be the cause of this failure?
01. Clogged Coils and Filters:
Dirty coils restrict the airflow, preventing heat from being disbursed to the environment. An overwhelmed compressor may eventually overheat. Some air compressors have an automatic shutoff feature that prevents damage. Clogged air filters may also impair the airflow. So, it’s important to keep the condenser coils and filters clean.
02. Failed Compressor:
The compressor may have actually failed altogether and may need replacing.
03. Insufficient Power Supply:
The outside components may not have adequate power to keep the fan and compressor operational.
04. Bad Capacitors:
They usually cause hard starts. You may have the problem resolved by replacing the capacitor.
The air conditioner’s compressor is, in fact, the heart of the AC unit that’s responsible for distributing the refrigerant fluid. If the compressor is not running smoothly, it will impair the absorption and expulsion of heat from the indoor spaces.
We hope this blog on how does an air conditioner compressor work will help you to understand what may be wrong, when your air conditioner’s compressor starts playing off!.
Before you leave, do not forget to read the following article for the tips to help you maintain your air conditioner.