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What is the AC compressor

One of the most important pieces in the outdoor unit of a home’s cooling system is the A/C compressor. What is it, where is it, and why does it matter? Let’s go over some of the details.  

For many homeowners, a home HVAC system is a modern marvel of innovation best left unexplored. But learning some of the basic terminology and functionality of a home’s A/C can help homeowners — both in understanding how the unit works, and when trying to communicate with a professional about the system. Equipped with knowledge, a homeowner can potentially tackle more complex maintenance on their own, and can also more easily understand when larger issues arise, and more clearly communicate where these issues are and what needs to be addressed. 

What is the A/C Compressor?

To get a handle on what an A/C compressor is, we need to establish the groundwork for one of the major thermodynamic principles for how an air conditioner works. In essence, within a fully closed system, as gas expands, both its pressure and temperature will decrease. This also means the inverse is true — if a gas compresses, the temperature and pressure will increase.

An A/C compressor actually facilitates both of these tasks for an A/C, moving the refrigerant within the air conditioner to expand and contract as needed, changing the physical state of the refrigerant back-and-forth from gas to liquid when the material is sent through the evaporator and condenser coils. Blowing air over the coils while moving the refrigerant in this way both cools a home and removes heat from the home, which is how an air conditioner functions. 

Where is the A/C Compressor?

As mentioned, the compressor resides in the outdoor air conditioning unit attached to the home, usually in the center of the unit, nestled near the condenser coils and fans, and hooked into the home through copper tubing. 

The outdoor A/C unit itself is also physically attached to the home through tubing and is located either on the side of a home or in the back, on top of a solid concrete foundation.

Why does the A/C Compressor Matter?

The A/C compressor is, in essence, the heart of the A/C system. Because of this, any issue with the compressor would be an issue that would have far-reaching effects on the rest of the home’s A/C system. As such, it’s important that the compressor is properly maintained, and homeowners should take care to keep debris and dust off of the outdoor A/C unit, pay attention to their indoor airflow and temperature, listen for any odd noises from the outdoor unit, and maintain a proper annual maintenance schedule for the home’s HVAC. 

If you have any questions about your home’s A/C system, the air compressor, or any other specific piece in your home’s system — or if you’re planning on scheduling an annual maintenance inspection — consider reaching out to the professionals at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling. Knowledgeable, licensed, and experience, the technicians at Duane Blanton are ready to help you out with any potential HVAC-related needs. Give Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling a call today at (815) 781-2567, or schedule an appointment online through their convenient online scheduling portal.

Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling is proud to be a Bryant Factory Authorized Dealer, offering top-quality heating and cooling options to fit the specific needs of Duane Blanton customers. The quality, comfort, and efficiency of Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems’ products naturally align with Duane Blanton’s drive to provide an exceptional customer service experience. Ask a Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling expert today about the advantages of upgrading to a new Bryant Heating & Cooling system for your home!


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