Air Conditioning (A/C) Compressors
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Air Conditioning (A/C) Compressor

Air conditioning compressors are an integral part of the refrigeration cycle that cools your home or business.  A/C compressors do just what their name suggests:  compress cool Freon gas molecules into hotter, high pressure molecules that are then transported to your air conditioner's condenser, which is in charge of cooling the gas into a liquid.  Your air conditioning unit's ac compressor is the origin of the refrigeration cycle; without this air conditioning part starting the movement of Freon throughout your heating and air conditioning system, yourair conditioner would be just a metal box containing a fan, with absolutely no cooling capacity.  

If you suspect a problem with your air compressor, contact your local air conditioning repair technician; in general, compressors are complicated pieces of machinery that should be examined by a professional.  To locate your central air conditioning system's compressor, look outside in your air conditioner's outdoor metal storage unit for the large box with no apparent moving parts.  Occasionally, compressors will make unusual noises, which are usually due to a loose connecting rod, piston pin, crankshaft, or other internal air conditioning part. A "hard starting" compressor may stutter on, then stop, then restart.  Both of these issues may require replacement compressor parts, and should be diagnosed by a qualified air conditioning repair person. 

On very hot days, such as those experienced often in tropical climates like Tampa and Los Angeles, pressure might build up in the compressor, causing it to overheat; your thermostat will register these temperature changes.  The compressor may try to start, fail, and create an electrical overload.  Resetting the high-pressure limit switch, which is designed to protect the compressor from shorting, may correct the problem.  Located in the air compressor´s access panel, this switch will allow energy to flow back to the compressor.  If the compressor starts, your problem is fixed, and your unit should start normally.  If the compressor fails to start when the switch is flipped, the electricity will be cut again, and the cycle will repeat itself.   After several cycles, if this process fails to restart your compressor, it might have shorted its internal components.  This issue requires professional attention; unplug your air conditioning unit and contact your local  air conditioning contractor.  An air conditioning technician will be able to locate the appropriate air compressor parts, or replace the compressor all together.  Often, a broken compressor will prove fatal to the heating and air conditioning system, because the cost of replacing the compressor exceeds the total cost of replacing the air conditioning unit.

Of course, proper maintenance of your compressor and its related air conditioning parts will help your home air conditioning run at peak performance.  Your compressor, which is located outdoors, can be cleaned with a hose.  Also make sure that no leaves or debris collect around the compressor case.  During the winter, the compressor should be kept covered, in order to protect its parts from snow and ice.  Attention to air conditioning filters and air conditioning coils will ensure that dirt, debris, and allergens do not circulate throughout your ducts and end up clogging your compressor.

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