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When the sweltering heat of summer sets in, air conditioning units across Australia kick into high gear, providing much-needed relief. But have you ever wondered what the different parts are in your air conditioning system that makes it work? As a part of our air conditioning parts series we will cover the compressor, a vital component without which the magic of modern air conditioning would not be possible.

The Compressor

The compressor in an air conditioning unit is often referred to as the “heart” of the system. This is because, much like the human heart pumps blood through the body, the compressor pumps refrigerant through the air conditioning system. But what exactly does this mean, and how does it contribute to cooling your home? Here’s a breakdown:

1. Compression of Refrigerant

The primary function of the compressor is to compress refrigerant gas. This process not only increases the refrigerant’s pressure but also its temperature, setting the stage for the crucial heat exchange process that follows.

2. Movement of Refrigerant

By compressing the refrigerant, the compressor ensures its movement throughout the air conditioning system. This is essential because the refrigerant needs to flow through the system to absorb heat from your home and expel it outside, effectively cooling your indoor space.

3. Facilitation of Heat Exchange

The heat exchange process is where the compressed and heated refrigerant releases its heat outdoors. When the refrigerant reaches the condenser coil (usually located outside), its high pressure and temperature allow it to release heat more efficiently into the outdoor air. The refrigerant then cools down and condenses into a liquid form, ready to be cycled back indoors.

4. Enabling the Cooling Cycle

After shedding its heat, the liquid refrigerant travels back inside, passing through an expansion device that lowers its pressure and temperature further. It then enters the evaporator coil, where it absorbs heat from the indoor air, effectively cooling it. The refrigerant evaporates back into a gas and is sucked back into the compressor, ready to start the cycle over again.

The Unsung Hero of Comfortable Interiors

Without the compressor, the air conditioning system would be unable to transfer heat from the indoors to the outdoors, rendering it incapable of cooling your home. It’s the compressor’s job to ensure the refrigerant is always moving and transforming, facilitating continuous heat exchange and maintaining the cycle that keeps your interiors cool and comfortable.