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A compressor is considered the heart of a heating and cooling unit. This outdoor unit not only keeps your indoor space cool but also makes sure that your HVAC system is functioning properly. If you’re curious about compressor systems, compressor technology, how it works, this blog is for you.

HVAC Compressor- Definition, Functionality & Types

HVAC Compressor – Meaning and Functionality

The compressor of a heat pump or an air conditioner is usually located outside, and its primary function is to compress the refrigerant and flow cool air.

At first, the cool and low-pressure refrigerant enters the compressor unit. Then the compressor unit compresses the refrigerant into a high-pressure gas. Usually, this gas is warmer than the outside temperature.

Later, this hot refrigerant gas is transferred to the condenser unit and absorbs the heat from our space. This is how a compressor and refrigerant work combinedly to make our space cool.

 

5 Types of Air Conditioner and Heating Compressor

1.      Reciprocating Compressor

It’s the most efficient HVAC compressor type and has a piston in it. In this type of compressor, a piston can have a maximum of eight cylinders, and its main purpose of this piston is to compress the air.

When the piston of the compressor moves down, it makes a vacuum effect inside the compressor, and as a result, it can suck the refrigerant easily. Again, when the piston goes up, it transfers the compressed refrigerant to the condenser unit to absorb the heat.

2.      Scroll Compressor

It’s the newest type of air conditioner compressor and is found in modern HVAC systems. The scroll compressor, mainly used in Trane HAVC units, has a fixed coil, which is called the scroll.

During the compression, the second scroll sends the refrigerant to the compressor’s center position and compresses the refrigerant. Due to its fewer moving parts and reliability, this scroll compressor is being used more often in modern heating and cooling units.

3.      Rotary AC Compressor

This type of AC compressor is best for noise-free areas such as office spaces. The rotary compressor has blades and a shaft in it, which compresses the refrigerant.

The shaft of this compressor rotates inside the cylinder and pushes the refrigerant into the cylinder. Thus, it compresses the refrigerant and keeps your home cool.

4.      Screw Compressor

This type of HVAC compressor is used in large buildings where continuous cooling is needed. It has two helical motors that move from one place to another. To compress the refrigerant, it shrinks the space inside it and cools the space.

5.      Centrifugal Compressor

Centrifugal AC compressors are used in extra-large HVAC systems. At first, it uses centrifugal forces to pull the refrigerant. Then it spins the refrigerant quickly to transform it into a compressed form.

 

Replace or Repair Compressor in Heat Pump or AC

On average, an air conditioner or heat pump compressor costs 1000 USD, excluding the labor cost and other costs associated with it.

To prolong the longevity of your HVAC compressor, routine maintenance is must. When you do a routine maintenance checkup, a heating and cooling professional will check your HVAC system thoroughly. If there are any faults in the AC or heat pump compressor, it’ll be fixed on the spot. As a result, your overall comfort and system efficiency will not be compromised.

 

2 Prominent Reasons behind HVAC Compressor Malfunction

1.      Too Much or Too Little Refrigerant

When there isn’t enough refrigerant in the HVAC system, it’ll force the system to work even harder. As a result, it’ll create a lot of stress and strain on the compressor. Eventually, your compressor will start to have issues.

Refrigerants can leak from the HVAC system through duct holes and cracks. That’s why as soon as you find any type of cracks or holes in your HVAC system or need air duct cleaning services, you should call an HVAC professional and fix the problem. However, this problem can easily be solved with regular HVAC maintenance checkups. Because as I mentioned above, during an HVAC maintenance checkup, an HVAC professional checks the whole system thoroughly.

Again, too much refrigerant can be as detrimental as too little refrigerant. Besides, if you put incorrect refrigerant type in your HVAC system, it can cause problems as well. It’s recommended you call a heating and cooling professional while filling refrigerants in your air conditioner or heat pump system.

2.      Dirty Condenser Coils

As the outdoor unit or compressor unit is situated outside, dust and debris can easily enter the condenser coil. If it isn’t cleaned properly, dust and debris can overheat the compressor. As a result, the condenser coil loses its cooling ability. When this happens, the AC compressor will have to run longer to continue the refrigerant cycle. This will lead to more stress and strain on your compressor and will require heavy repairs. That’s why you should clean your outdoor condenser unit often.

Besides, if there any tree branches or leaves near the compressor unit, clean it as well. However, if you’re not comfortable cleaning your condenser, you can take assistance from an HVAC professional or do regular HVAC maintenance checkups.

 

FAQs about AC Compressor

1.      What happens to the Temperature of the Refrigerant When It is Compressed?

In the beginning, the refrigerant enters the compressor in low pressure and cold condition. But during compression, it turns into high pressure and high-temperature gas. After transforming from a liquid to a gas state, it absorbs the heat from the space and releases it to the environment, making your home cool.

2.      What are the Signs of a Bad Air Conditioner Compressor Unit?

If you hear any noise coming from the AC or heat pump unit, there is a high probability that your compressor needs repair. Again, if you face a cooling problem, your compressor will require repair too.

3.      What is the Cost to Replace a Compressor?

It’ll cost you around 1000 USD depending on the brand and the AC compressor type you choose. However, this doesn’t include the labor costs and installation costs. That’s why while buying a new AC, ask the salesperson about what is include and whatnot.

 

See the summary of this article here in an infographic – 5 Types of AC & Heating Compressor [Infographic]

5 Types of AC & Heating Compressor
5 Types of AC & Heating Compressor

By the way, are you looking for an HVAC system for your home?

Check out Green Leaf Air Store where we have a wide range of residential & commercial HVAC system including: –

Complete Goodman HVAC SystemComplete Trane HVAC systemHeat PumpsAir HandlersGas Furnaces

Besides, for any Air Duct Cleaning, AC installation, AC replacement and AC repair services, call Green Leaf Air to ensure you get the best quotes and satisfying service.

Rifat Ahmed

RifatAhmed.com