How an AC Condenser and Your Home AC Unit Are Linked

AC CondenserThe AC condenser coil plays a vital role in the process that keeps your home comfortable all summer. Technically, an air conditioner doesn’t generate coolness, per se. Instead, it’s actually a heat mover. The system extracts heat from inside your home, moves it outside, then releases the heat into the outdoor air. Comfortable coolness is simply what’s left behind inside the house after the heat is kicked out.

Coils Working Together

Two AC coils containing refrigerant do the heat moving. Here’s a short sketch of how they work together to form the cooling cycle:

  • Inside the indoor air handler, liquid refrigerant under low pressure at approximately 40 degrees flows through the evaporator coil, absorbing indoor heat from air pulled through the coil by the system blower.
  • In the outdoor component of the central air conditioner, refrigerant flowing from the evaporator coil is pressurized by the system compressor and converted into a vapor at a temperature between 120 and 140 degrees.
  • As this hot, compressed vapor enters the condenser coil, it rapidly expands and “condenses” back into a liquid.
  • Flowing through tubes inside the condenser coil, heat is emitted by the refrigerant as airflow from the condenser fan disperses the heat into outdoor air.
  • The circular refrigerant flow returns to the indoor evaporator coil to extract more heat.

Potential AC Condenser Issues

Refrigerant leaks are somewhat more likely to occur in the indoor evaporator coil for several reasons. However, issues specific to the outdoor condenser coil are also possible:

  • Because the coil is outdoors, dust, dirt, leaves, grass clippings, and other debris may accumulate on coil surfaces. A dirty coil reduces heat dispersal and degrades cooling efficiency.
  • Corrosion on coil surfaces may be accelerated by acids in outdoor air pollution, causing refrigerant loss.
  • The AC condenser’s coil fan may fail due to a broken fan belt or electrical issues.

For more about the role of the AC condenser in the cooling process, ask the professionals at Paitson Bros., now marking 100 years of dedicated sales and service to residents of Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.

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