What is an AC Compressor?
In short, the A/C Compressor is the outdoor unit part of your air conditioner and is the center of your HVAC system. Its job is to pump refrigerant throughout your system, thus creating cool and dehumidified air for your house or building.
However, to understand how a compressor works, let's first take a quick look at how refrigeration works. Refrigeration allows your air conditioning system to cool a space, by carrying heat from inside a building to the outside, thus cooling the indoor temperature. Here's how it works broken down:
Step 1: The refrigerant absorbs the heat from a building via the evaporator coil, changing it from a cold liquid to a warm gas with low pressure.
Step 2: Your AC's compressor then squeezes and compresses the refrigerant, converting it to a high-pressure hot gas by reducing its volume.
Step 3: The newly converted hot gas is then sent to the condenser, where outside reduces its heat by flowing over it, leaving a high-pressure cool liquid.
Step 4: Next, the cool liquid heads over to the expansion valve, where its pressure and temperature get lowered, converting it into a cold gas and on back to the evaporator to start the process over again.
Now that we understand more about refrigeration and what the compressor does, you can see that is the hear of your air conditioning system and play a hugely integral role in the way your home or building is cooled.
How Does an HVAC Compressor Work?
There are several types of compressors out there, but the one becoming most common in today's world is the scroll compressor. This type works in a circular motion, as opposed to an up-and-down piston action, and is more reliable and than the reciprocating style of compressor.
The increased use in the scroll compressor is due to it having less moving parts and less torque variation than its reciprocating counterpart. This mean it runs much more smoothly, efficiently, and quieter.
Scroll compressors operate with one fixed scroll that remains stationary, while another orbital style scroll rotates through the use of a swing link. During running operation, pockets of refrigerant are slowing pushed to the center of the two scrolls while reducing the volume of the gas (compressing it). Afterwards, it is discharged through the center port and on to the condenser.
Now that we understand more about refrigeration and how the compressor works, you can see that is the heart of your air conditioning system and plays a hugely integral role in the way your home or building is cooled.
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