A/C compressor vs. A/C condenser – do you know the difference?

compressor vs. condensor difference

Step into your air-conditioned Orlando home on a hot day, and you’re met with a blast of cool, refreshing air. How does it do that? You may have heard terms like “compressor” or “condenser” thrown around by your HVAC technician. Aren’t they the same thing? The simple answer is no, and Rainaldi Home Services of Orlando wants you to understand the technology behind your HVAC system. The good news? There won’t be a quiz, and you can let Rainaldi Home Services of Orlando take care of any A/C troubles you encounter. Read on for an A/C primer.

Let’s talk about refrigerant

Your home’s A/C cools the air and releases the heat through a special chemical compound known as refrigerant. The cool thing about refrigerant (get it?) is that it can transform from a gas to a liquid to a vapor, depending on outside forces. When the refrigerant is compressed, its pressure rises, and it becomes hot. As it cools down, it first becomes a liquid and then evaporates into a gas. These changes occur within your HVAC unit, drawing heat from your inside air, depositing it outside, and sending cool air back through your ventilation system.

What’s going on behind the scenes

Warm air inside your home is drawn through the vent, where it blows over a cold evaporator coil. The cool air is then sent back through the air ducts to be distributed throughout your home. However, a lot of other things are going on to make this happen.

Your indoor A/C unit includes an evaporator coil that absorbs the heat of the stuffy indoor air. The refrigerant inside the evaporator coil changes from liquid to gas as it absorbs the heat. This gas then travels along a series of copper tubes to the compressor.

The compressor’s job

Your A/C unit’s compressor can be found in your outdoor air conditioning unit. Its job is to prepare the refrigerant to continue its cycle of absorbing heat from indoors, releasing it outside, and becoming cold again as it travels back into your home. The compressor accomplishes this by drawing in the warm refrigerant and compressing it to create heat. Air conditioning works through heat exchange, and you want the refrigerant to be warmer than the outside air so it will release its excess heat outdoors. Once the refrigerant reaches a specific pressure level, it’s sent through a discharge valve to the condenser.

Moving onto the condenser

As the refrigerant flows into the condenser coils, the refrigerant begins to release the heat that has built up inside. The outdoor unit’s fan will blow over the condenser coils to help the refrigerant release its heat, cooling from a hot gas back into a liquid. This liquid continues its journey to the evaporator coil, where it starts the process all over again.

Keep cool

The compressor and condenser are two important components of your home’s A/C system. Want to keep things running? Make sure your condenser fan is blowing, so the heat leaves your home. Take a moment to clear leaves and other debris that can gather around the outside unit. Use water or an A/C coil cleanser to clean the coils once a year, getting rid of the grime and dirt.

Does this sound like a dirty job? There’s no need to get messy when you can call the pros. Fortunately, the HVAC techs at Rainaldi Home Services are experts at maintaining your HVAC system and fixing problems that may arise. Schedule an A/C tune-up now, and our friendly HVAC techs will thoroughly clean your system and check for any problems before they cause a hot, sweaty mess at home. Call us at (407) 413-9795 or contact us online to schedule an appointment now.

Scroll to Top