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What the Condensing Unit Does in a Central Air Conditioning System

The standard central air conditioning system found in homes is a split system: it consists of two units housed in different locations that are connected through power and refrigerant lines. The indoor unit contains the evaporator coil and the air handler that sends cooled air into the ductwork and then to the rooms. The outdoor unit is called the condenser.

How a condenser unit works

The condenser contains a number of key components that are necessary for an AC to operate: the compressor, condensing coils, and fan. The condenser’s principle job is to exhaust heat to the outdoors, cooling down the refrigerant in the system before sending it to the indoors. The condenser is also where the compressor changes refrigerant into a high-pressure gas and sends it on its way through the system.

This is what occurs inside the condenser during the regular operation of the air conditioner: A motor runs the compressor, which squeezes down the refrigerant inside it. This compression raises the pressure of the gaseous refrigerant and also raises its temperature. The high-pressure gas then moves to the next area of lower pressure, which is in the condenser coils. The fan in the condenser draws in the warm air from the outside across the coils; the interaction between the air and the high-temperature refrigerant causes condensation to take place, which releases heat. The fan exhausts this heat through the top of the condenser unit. The now-cooled refrigerant travels out of the condenser and heads to the indoor unit, where it will absorb heat from the inside air.

If the condenser unit doesn’t work, an air conditioning system cannot supply any cooling power. In cases where a malfunctioning condenser cannot be repaired, the whole unit can be replaced. Only qualified technicians should handle this job to make sure that the right size condenser unit is installed and that it works the way it should.

If you need to have a new condenser unit installed, or you wish to schedule repair work for your air conditioning system, call on Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning in Fresno, CA.

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