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Get to Know Your AC: What’s a Compressor?

No one expects every homeowner to be an expert on their air conditioning system. That’s what the team at Mission AC is for! However, it can be really beneficial to know the basics of your appliances so that you have a better understanding of when they’re functioning correctly versus incorrectly. This simple knowledge could give you the edge you need to know when to shut down a system to prevent an emergency or just when to call for Houston AC repair!

One of the most important parts of your AC system is called the compressor. We’re going to give you all the details you need to know about your compressor so that you can keep your AC unit healthy.

What Is A Compressor?

A compressor in an AC unit is very much like a pump. Often referred to as the heart of the air conditioner, the compressor is like a pump because it can increase pressure on a liquid and also transfer the liquid. Without the compressor, the air conditioner will not work.

How Does A Compressor Work?

In an AC system, warm air is pulled from your home and passed over evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are kept cold by the liquid refrigerant. When the warm air passes over them, it becomes cool and is transported back to the home. 

However, the liquid refrigerant becomes a gas when in contact with the warm air. So it is moved over to the compressor where it is changed back into a liquid and cycled back to the evaporator coils. The condenser transports the refrigerant in gas and liquid forms back and forth to make sure the cycle is completed. 

Where is The Compressor?

The compressor is located in the outdoor unit of your AC system. It is connected to the air handler inside by a copper tube. The air pulled from your home runs through the tube and goes through the cooling cycle inside the outdoor unit. When the air is cooled it is sent back inside through the tube. The compressor does all its work out in the outdoor unit. 

How Do I Maintain The Compressor?

The compressor is an essential part of the AC system and should be kept in great condition to ensure the whole system runs properly. However, maintenance on the compressor really shouldn’t be done by the homeowner. A professional HVAC technician will check the compressor and all the components housed in the outdoor unit during an annual tune-up – which is why it’s so important to remember to schedule maintenance every year!

How Do I Know The Compressor Is Broken?

Like any machine piece, the compressor can malfunction or break. The most common results of a broken AC compressor are these three signs:

  • Noises – A brief noise when the unit starts is normal. Hearing clanking or banging inside the unit can signify a loose part. Bubbling or hissing can mean the refrigerant is leaking in the compressor. 
  • Poor Cooling – If the compressor is malfunctioning, your home will likely not cool correctly.
  • Hard Starting – When the compressor is struggling to turn off or on, this could indicate an electrical problem.

Need An AC Compressor Repair?

If you think your AC compressor is broken or having problems, it’s always best to call a licensed HVAC technician to take care of your problem. Air conditioning repair in Houston has never been easier with Mission AC. Give our team a call today for all your AC needs!


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