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Air Conditioner Parts: The Compressor

The more you know about your air conditioner, the better equipped you’ll be to recognize when it’s having a problem. You don’t have to be able to take your system apart and put it back together; you just need to know enough about the parts of the air conditioner to know when they’re having issues. With that in mind, let’s take a look at one of the most important parts of the air conditioner: the compressor.

What is the Compressor?

The compressor is arguably the most important part of the air conditioning system. It is essentially a large pump, responsible for circulating refrigerant gas through the system. During operation, the refrigerant gas flows from the evaporator coil into the compressor, where it is compressed in order to propel it to the outside unit. Without the compressor, the air conditioner wouldn’t actually be able to circulate refrigerant to cool your home.

Common Compressor Problems

The compressor is only designed to handle gas. Exposure to liquid refrigerant is a pretty big problem, capable of causing quite a bit of damage to the compressor. There are a couple of different ways that the compressor can be exposed to liquid refrigerant. During operation, the air conditioner is constantly changing its refrigerant from liquid to gas and back again. If some liquid refrigerant makes it out of the evaporator coil, often because the coil is frozen over or the refrigerant level is low, it can flow into the compressor.

If the liquid only infiltrates part of the compressor, it can wash off the oil lubricant that keeps the part running smoothly. This can increase wear and tear on the part, shortening its lifespan. If the refrigerant actually makes it into the compression chamber, though, things can get much worse. When the compressor attempts to compress the liquid refrigerant, it will create a massive amount of hydraulic pressure that it wasn’t designed to handle. This will often cause the compressor to break down completely. If your system’s fan is blowing, but no cool air is coming out, it might be because of a broken compressor.

If you need air conditioner repair, call Rentmeister Total Home Service. We provide air conditioning repair services throughout Salt Lake City, UT.

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