The compressor is one of the four basic parts of an air conditioner. The system works by replacing warm indoor air with outdoor air that has been cooled by a refrigerant. When air coming from the vents does not feel cool, it could indicate a problem with the compressor.
How Does a Compressor Work?
Air conditioner compressors must maintain a consistent pressure level, use the correct amount of refrigerant, and release pressure safely if necessary. Refrigerant is a liquid or gas that cools system air before it is released into your home. The compressor starts the cooling cycle of an AC unit by drawing the refrigerant from inside the home and pressurizing it so it heats up. The compressor pushes the resulting substance to the condenser coil. This apparatus pushes the gas out of the unit, where fans cool it. This extracts the heat and transfers it out of the home. After the heat has been extracted, the refrigerant is pressurized into a warm liquid that passes through a special valve that removes pressure and heat. This liquid enters the evaporator coil and becomes a gas that enters the home to cool its ambient air.
What Are the Different Compressors?
A home AC unit will likely have one of these four compressor types:
- Rotary compressors: Inexpensive and long-lasting, these are less efficient than other options and most commonly used in window units and some central air systems.
- Reciprocating compressors: An affordable model found in split-air systems, but may not last as long as durable compressor models.
- Scroll compressors: A more efficient model found in high-end AC systems that has a long lifespan but is on the expensive side.
- Variable speed compressors: The most expensive system, but also the most efficient and durable.
Is My Air Compressor Broken?
When an air compressor needs to be repaired, the homeowner may notice strange sounds coming from the HVAC unit. Rattling, clicking, or rumbling sounds are causes for concern that should be serviced. Other signs of a compressor issue include leaking refrigerant fluid from the unit, blown fuses when the AC is running, limited airflow, and air that feels warm rather than cool. American Energy Air and Solar provides air conditioner replacement and repair services for homes and businesses in Sacramento and surrounding areas, including emergency services. If your AC is giving you trouble, contact us at (916) 782-3139 for your free estimate.