How Does An Air Conditioner Compressor Work?

Despite the fact that air conditioners continuously filter and cool the same air, air is not the only fluid involved in the cooling process. In fact, air conditioners are more complex systems than many people realize. Using phase change reactions from a refrigerant, air conditioners rely on a cycle of circulation and condensation before evaporating the cooled air we rely on back into our homes. In order for these systems to function properly, you will need a reliable compressor to allow for heat removal and refrigerant reuse. For your better knowledge, this blog will explore the function of an air conditioner compressor.

To understand an air conditioner compressor, you must first comprehend the general function of the overall air conditioning system. Shaped like a figure eight with an evaporator at its center, the compressor can be broken down into two separate and almost circular cycles. The first of these is the circulation system, which tasks in impure air from the room and filters it. Before cooling, the air is simply cleansed of dust, dirt, and moisture. Then, the clean air enters the evaporator where it interacts with the gas form of the refrigerant. The refrigerant becomes warmer while the air becomes colder, and the cold air is released to your home.

Meanwhile, the second cycle of the air conditioning system works to remove the heat from the warmed refrigerant so it may be fed back into the evaporator as a cool gas. Interestingly, before the refrigerant can be cooled, it must be warmed further to its liquid state by the compressor.  This is the purpose of the condenser; the condenser unit compresses the refrigerant to a liquid state, which is then much hotter than when it enters the condenser. From here, the liquid passes through the condenser’s coils through which heat is dissipated out of the system. At the end of the loop, the condenser coils make the refrigerant cold enough to return to gas form and be fed into the evaporator coils for use once again.

With all of this in mind, you may procure one of a number of air conditioner compressors for your systems. These include five main categories: scroll, reciprocating, rotary, screw, and centrifugal. While all function to compress warm refrigerant gas into a warmer refrigerant liquid, their working principles vary. A scroll compressor has two scrolls, between which air is compressed as one scroll uncoils and recoils. A reciprocating compressor has more moving parts, relying on a piston and cylinder design. Using a motor, gas in this popular, yet inefficient design is compressed in a vacuum. Meanwhile, a screw compressor is best for working with large quantities of air, using two helical rotors. Centrifugal compressors are also good for working with large capacities of air, and they have very few moving parts so they are easy to maintain. Instead of pistons, valves, cylinders, and other components, centrifugal compressors rely only on the impeller, which  is a rapidly spinning disc with blades for compressing. Lastly, for a quiet and reliable option, consider a rotary compressor with a simple cylinder and blade configuration.

Relying on principles of heat and pressure differences, air conditioner systems depend on a reliable condenser unit to keep their refrigerant cycling through the system properly. Without proper phase changes, the cooling system would fail entirely. As such, it is wise to ensure all components of your air conditioner are in top shape. For top quality parts from trusted manufacturers around the globe, turn to Asap NSN Distribution for all of your needs.

Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we are proudly an AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B accredited enterprise, and we adhere to a strict No China Sourcing policy. As such, our dedication to quality is unmatched and our inventory is unparalleled. Offering over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items, we offer rapid lead times and competitive cost savings on all orders. Fill out an Instant Request for Quote (RFQ) form at any point to receive a quotation for your comparisons in 15 minutes or less. To learn more, call or email us at any time, 24/7x365!


December 1, 2022

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