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How Does An AC Compressor Work?

How Does An Air Conditioner Compressor Work?

The compressor is one of the most important parts of your air conditioner.

ac compressor image

What is a compressor?

Along with the evaporator coil and condenser that sits outside your home, your air conditioner compressor is one of the most important parts of your air conditioner.

The compressors job is to convert low-pressure refrigerant in a gas state into a high-pressure, higher temperature gas prior to entering your condenser.

Think of your compressor as the middleman between your condenser and evaporator coil.

Without your compressor, your air conditioner would cease to function at all. 

How Does The AC Compressor Work?

When the R-22 or R410a leaves your evaporator coil inside, it is in a low-pressure state.

In order for the refrigerant to be able to release the heat it absorbed from inside your home, it needs to be a higher temp than the outside air.

This is where the compressors job comes in.

The refrigerant enters your compressor via a suction line and is compressed very tightly together.

By compressing the refrigerant, the temperature and pressure of it is raised.

This compressed refrigerant leaves the compressor and flows out into the lines that wrap around the condenser.

Because heat naturally goes from warm areas to cooler ones, the heat is transferred to the colder outside air.

This cools the refrigerant back down and it heads back to your evaporator coil to repeat this process again.

Compressor Repairs

Compressor repairs and replacements are one of the most expensive air conditioner repairs you can have.

Because it is one of the larges and most important parts of your air conditioner, compressor repair costs can easily climb to over $1,500 if the entire compressor needs to be replaced.

At this point, it may be smarter to just replace your air conditioner if it is older than 10 years.

Also, with R-22 being phased out and being replaced with R410a, the cost to refill your air conditioner with once the compressor is replaced is a lot more expensive than it use to be.