Are you thinking about installing a new HVAC system in your home? Did you just buy a home that has an HVAC system that is new to you? In either scenario, you might be asking yourself the question “What does an HVAC compressor do?”
If you are in the market for an HVAC system, you will want to know what the HVAC compressor does, given that it is the driving force behind your cool air. Likewise, if you have just purchased a home that has an HVAC system, you want to know how to stay on top of maintenance. That starts with understanding the functions of the compressor, which is the most crucial part of your HVAC system.
If you are asking yourself what an HVAC compressor does, we have highlighted its primary functions, and how to properly take care of the system, below.
What is an HVAC Compressor?
An HVAC compressor is the primary part of the cooling function of HVAC, or heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. You can think of it as the heart of the system, without which the rest of the system is rendered almost useless. Without the HVAC compressor, the air conditioner would not be able to produce any cool air.
The majority of HVAC compressors look like a black box with lines that run from and to it. The air conditioner part of an HVAC system, which relies on the compressor, is basically a kind of refrigerator that serves to both dehumidify and cool the air simultaneously.
What Does it Do?
The HVAC compressor basically pumps all of the refrigerant through the air conditioning system. That refrigerant is crucial to cooling the air inside the home or property. It absorbs the heat inside and transfers it back outside.
Your HVAC system follows the steps below when using refrigerant to transfer heat:
- The HVAC compressor pumps the refrigerant from the condenser, which is the outside unit, to the evaporator, which is the indoor unit. At this point, the refrigerant is cold and is absorbing heat from inside the home or building. As more heat is collected, the refrigerant starts to transform into a vapor. Once it reaches its maximum containment and can hold no more heat, that vapor goes back toward the compressor. It is essentially carrying the heat out of and away from the home or property.
- Once the vapor gets back to the outdoor unit, the HVAC compressor then takes in the refrigerant and heats it up further until it becomes a superheated gas. Given that heat always wants to move toward cold areas, that hot refrigerant leaves most of its heat out in the colder outdoor air. As it starts to cool off and loses heat, the refrigerant transforms back into a liquid.
- As the refrigerant cools and gets rid of most of the heat it is carrying, the HVAC compressor sends that refrigerant back into the indoor unit to repeat the same steps again. It continues to do so until the home is at the required temperature.
An HVAC system will not just keep the air cool, however. It also serves as a kind of dehumidifier. In most areas, an air conditioning unit is all that is required to keep indoor humidity at a reasonable level.
This dehumidification is a kind of secondary function of your HVAC compressor. The air conditioner serves to control both humidity and heat, though its primary function is to remove heat. Dehumidify is a kind of byproduct of the cooling process. You essentially get both functions out of your air conditioner. If you live in a very warm or humid climate, the added extraction of humidity from the air can make a huge difference in your comfort level.
The Importance of an HVAC Compressor
If you do not want to endure a hot summer without access to air conditioning, it is really important to stay on top of your HVAC and its compressor. Likewise, if you are considering getting an HVAC system, it can truly serve to make you much more comfortable during the hot summer months. However, you do want to make sure you stay on top of maintenance, as the importance of the HVAC compressor really cannot be overstated.
If the HVAC compressor is not working, there will be no cool air received from the air conditioner. Instead, the whole system will work as a kind of big fan. That will not do much to cool off your home during the summer.
HVAC Compressor Maintenance
In addition, you need to make sure your HVAC compressor stays in good shape through periodic maintenance. If it is broken, it can be a really big problem. For example, if it gets burnt out, it needs to be replaced, which is one of the biggest and most expensive jobs that can be performed on an air conditioner unit. It is even true that in most cases when this happens, it is better and more cost-efficient to just replace the whole air conditioning unit.
This problem is largely avoidable, however. A good technician will always look over the compressor to make sure it is working properly and to check if it or its motor needs servicing. That tune-up of the HVAC compressor can serve to eliminate some of the stress put on it and will help it to last as long as the rest of the HVAC system.
Contact a Professional HVAC Contractor
Because of the stress put on HVAC compressors and the overall importance of the compressor to an HVAC system, you want to ensure you choose the right technicians to service your system.
If are still looking for information on what does an HVAC compressor do or you have additional questions, reach out to Presidential Heating & Air Conditioning. The company has been in business since 1981 and is available for air conditioning and heating system service, regular maintenance and even repair and replacement. They are a one-stop-shop when it comes to keeping your HVAC system in perfect working order.