Home air conditioning units consist of four main mechanical components. These include the compressor, evaporator, condenser and expansion valve. The air conditioning systems also comprise of several complementary components such as the air handlers, thermostats and air ducts. All these parts play vital roles in ensuring homes have a desired temperature.
Air conditioning applies a simple technique whereby a chemical refrigerant such as Freon is used to transfer heat out of the homes. Generally, energy efficient air conditioning systems are costlier but provide a reduced monthly utility bill. These have a higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating. Herein is a simple guide on one of the most important parts of any home air conditioning unit; the compressor.
home ac compressor
FUNCTIONS OF AN AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR
Basically, the compressor serves to facilitate the heat transfer process that leads to the cooling of rooms. The air conditioning compressor squeezes the refrigerant, which enters the compressor as a low temperature and pressure gas.
As a result of this additional pressure, the refrigerant exits the compressor at a high temperature and pressure. The compressed gas can then pass through the condenser. The condenser is the section of the air conditioner with numerous metal fins.
These fins help to dissipate the heat from the gas and as a result it leaves the condenser as a fluid to finish the cooling process in the evaporator coil. The air conditioning compressor is therefore at the heart of the air cooling process.
TYPES OF AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSORS
1. SCROLL COMPRESSORS.
Scroll compressors comprise of a fixed scroll and an orbiting scroll. The moving scroll rotates by the help of a swing link. This positioning pushes the refrigerant to the center of the scrolls resulting in its pressurization.
It is then expels to the condenser via a center port. The major advantage of this type of condenser is that it produces less noise since it has few moving parts.
2. RECIPROCATING COMPRESSORS.
This compressor uses a piston to compress the refrigerant driven by a crankshaft system in a back and forth motion. It employs an electric motor that provides the rotary motion of the piston inside a cylinder.
When the piston moves upwards, it squeezes the refrigerant coming through an intake valve. The refrigerant is aided through this suction line when the piston moves downwards.
It is consequently moved through an exhaust valve into the condenser. Reciprocating compressors can also have two, four or eight pistons.
3. CENTRIFUGAL COMPRESSORS.
In a centrifugal compressor, the refrigerant is rotated at high speeds creating centrifugal forces. A disk with blades radiating from it spins at a high velocity in a container housing the refrigerant gas. A diffuser subsequently converts this centrifugal energy into high pressure energy before expelling the gas into the condenser.
The main advantage of such compressors is their durability since they have no valves, pistons and cylinders that are prone to wear and tear. It is also often used in large capacity air conditioning systems.
home ac compressor
4. ROTARY COMPRESSORS.
Rotary compressors either have vanes that rotate with a central shaft or vanes that remain stationary around a rotating shaft. The gas refrigerant from the suction line enters the cylinder through a suction port.
As the vanes rotate, the gas pockets between the blades and the cylinder walls are compressed reducing in volume and increasing in pressure. The gas is then expelled through an exhaust port into the condenser.
5. SCREW COMPRESSORS.
A screw compressor contains a cylinder in which a helical rotor rotates. As the low temperature and low pressure gas refrigerant enters the compressor, it is trapped and compressed as a result of this motion.
The resultant high pressure and temperature gas is discharged into the condenser through a valve at the other end of the compressor. Screw compressors are also employed in high capacity air conditioning systems.
MAINTENANCE OF HOME AC COMPRESSORS
For the optimum function of the home air conditioning system, the compressor must be kept in good condition. Many times when an air conditioning unit is running and the house temperature remains the same, the problems is often in the home ac compressor.
Cleanliness of the compressor is paramount and residents should clear way any debris, leaves or grass accumulating on the unit. A hose can be used to clean the compressor but care must be taken not to damage it. The home air conditioning system should be inspected and maintained regularly by trained technicians.
It is very important to note that you must never attempt to fix a home ac compressor without proper knowledge on air conditioning units. Doing so may result in damages or even serious injuries.