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The compressor is one of the most important parts of your air conditioning unit. Not only does the compressor play an important role in the cooling process, but it also ensures that the unit works effectively and continually. To understand how your Baltimore, Maryland, air conditioner compressor works, you should know about its location, function, maintenance, and repair needs. Once you do, you’ll understand the connection between your air conditioner’s compressor and regular HVAC system maintenance

Compressor Location

The compressor can be found in the outdoor air conditioning unit, at the rear or on the side of your home. Other important parts within the outdoor unit include the condenser, condenser coil, and fan.

The outdoor unit connects to the indoor part of your air conditioning system through a copper refrigerant tube. Once connected, these two parts work together to absorb hot air from inside your home and transform it into cool air.

Compressor Function

To understand how the compressor works, think about the cooling process for a split-system central air conditioner. The air conditioner pulls heat out of the air in your home, cools it over a set of cold pipes (an evaporator coil), and releases the cool air into your home. The evaporator coil remains cold thanks to a liquid refrigerant that absorbs hot air and changes it to gas. This gas is then transported outside to the condenser coil where the gas again becomes a liquid. From this point, the cycle continues.

How does the compressor fit into the picture? The compressor is responsible for moving the refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser coils, ensuring that the refrigerant changes to gas or liquid as needed. You can think of the compressor as the heart of the air conditioning system and the refrigerant as the blood. To this end, the compressor pumps the refrigerant through the system to keep it alive and running properly.

Compressor Maintenance

Maintaining the compressor is crucial for the overall functioning of the air conditioning unit. However, don’t attempt to maintain this part yourself. During a service appointment, your HVAC technician will check the compressor for any obvious damage or failure. Your service tech may also check the compressor pads to make sure that the unit does not have any electrical problems which could affect the compressor.

Compressor Malfunction

The compressor has many moving parts and is easily susceptible to breaks. If the compressor malfunctions for any reason, the result could be noises coming from the unit, insufficient cooling, or hard starts.

  • Noises coming from the unit: You may hear banging or clanking noises if a loose part is inside the compressor. Bubbling and hissing may indicate that the compressor has a refrigerant leak. Keep in mind that a brief noise at startup is often normal for compressors.
  • Insufficient cooling: When the compressor is loose or worn, the air conditioning unit will not cool your home properly.
  • Hard starting: If the compressor struggles to turn on or off, “hard starting,” this problem could be the result of an electrical problem with the air conditioning unit.

Other consequences of a malfunctioning compressor include the outdoor unit running hot, the compressor burning out, and the air conditioning system not working at all. If you think you have a problem with your compressor, contact a Griffith Energy Services professional for help.

Compressor Repair

If your compressor malfunctions, your repair options may be limited. Always contact your HVAC technician for any repair decisions. Sometimes what appears to be a broken compressor may actually be a malfunction elsewhere in the unit. Ask your service tech for more information.

However, if the compressor is to blame, replacement may be your only option. Depending on the problem’s severity and the system’s age, you may need to replace your HVAC system entirely.

To keep your air conditioning system functioning properly, proper functioning of your air conditioning compressor is crucial. If you need air conditioning repair or maintenance on your compressor or any other part of your HVAC system, contact one of our helpful service professionals at Griffith Energy Services today at 888-474-3391.  

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