Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Air Conditioner Parts: The Compressor

The most interaction that most homeowners tend to have with their air conditioners is when they adjust the temperature on the thermostat. While this isn’t a bad thing (that’s what the thermostat is there for, after all) it often means that homeowners are unaware of how their air conditioners actually work. Having even a rudimentary knowledge of how your air conditioner operates can be a great help in recognizing when it’s experiencing a problem. With that in mind, let’s examine one of the most important parts of the air conditioner: the compressor.

What is the Compressor?

The compressor is the part responsible for circulating refrigerant through the system. It is essentially a pump. As refrigerant gas enters the compressor, it is pressurized to propel it through the system. This process also causes the gas to heat up, which is required to condense it into a liquid elsewhere in the system. Without the compressor, the air conditioner would not be able to move refrigerant through its system, and therefore would not be able to cool the home.

Problems Associated with the Compressor

As the compressor is so vital to the operation of the air conditioner, it is very important that it be kept in good repair at all times. If the compressor fails, it may be easier to replace the entire system than to try and replace the compressor. One of the most common problems associated with the compressor is short-cycling: when the system turns on and off frequently, often every few minutes. This places extreme stress on the system, and increases the chance of a breakdown. It is often caused by electrical issues, such as a blown fuse or a short. Another common problem is the compressor motor failing to start, often because of a malfunctioning start capacitor, which will need to be replaced.

If you suspect that your air conditioner compressor is having problems, call Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing. We provide air conditioning repair services throughout Chevy Chase, MD.