The Compressor

The compressor is what moves the refrigerant in the system.  Think of a roller coaster.  Where everyone gets in and out of the cars and they have the controls to make the cars move.  When the compressor turns on it takes in low pressure vapor and turns it into high pressure vapor.  If the compressor doesn’t work, then all you have is the condenser fan motor and indoor blower motor running and thus no cool air coming out of the vents.  Part of the job of the refrigerant is to help keep the compressor cool.  As refrigerant moves through the compressor it absorbs the heat from the compressor motor windings.  If you don’t have enough refrigerant, a condition called undercharge, then the refrigerant won’t be able to cool the compressor down like it should.  On a very hot day, it can cause the compressor to get too hot and shut the compressor down.  The internal overload (IOL) is temperature activated and when the compressor heats up too much it opens up, just like a fuse except a fuse opens because of too much amperage.  Too much refrigerant isn’t good for the compressor either and if liquid gets into the compressor then it has been damaged.  The compressor takes a lot of energy to start and it isn’t a bad idea to have a hard start kit, even on a new system.  A hard start kit will help the compressor start easier.  If the compressor has a hard time starting or has very high amps when starting, then a hard start kit will help.  The hard start kit needs to have a relay with the it, as some do not.  I have seen a compressor have 138 amps on start-up and after putting a hard start kit on it dropped the amps to 53.  The more amps you have the more electricity you end up paying.  The more amps means the motor is working harder, the amps for the compressor is on the nameplate of the condenser.  It should be lower than the amps stated and if not it is working too hard.  If a compressor goes bad, since it is sealed, there is no other choice but to get a new compressor or condenser.  The compressor should make a humming sound when running or another way you can tell if it is running is grab the smaller copper line and you can feel the refrigerant moving, it might be easier to tell when you feel near the evaporator coil.

Published in: on May 14, 2010 at 7:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

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