One of the major benefits of having central AC is the ability to keep it out of view from the living areas of your home. The indoor evaporator and blower fan as well as the duct system are all relatively hidden, and all that you can see are the vents that lead out to the room. But when you step outside, one part of the air conditioner is very tough to avoid—the outside condenser unit. This cabinet houses the condenser coils, the compressor, and a large fan, among other smaller electrical and mechanical elements. Let’s take a closer look.
The Role of the Outside Unit
The two main functions of the outside portion of the system are to allow heat to dissipate into the air and to pump refrigerant. The compressor is the component that pressurizes the refrigerant so that it continues through the system, absorbing heat from your home and bringing it outdoors. The compressor is actually one of the most expensive portions of your system, and when it needs replacement, you may find that replacing the whole system is more cost effective.
The condenser coils and the outside fan are part of the refrigeration process. Air blows over the coil via the fan, and the gas refrigerant converts into a liquid. This process is what allows heat to dissipate into the air around the unit, but the refrigerant itself will not leave the system (unless there is a leak).
Maintaining the Condenser/Compressor Unit
The key to making an air conditioner last for many years and operate efficiently is keeping the entire system clean and all of the parts fine-tuned. Cleaning the outside condenser unit is just as important as cleaning the air filter, which is why you should keep the space around the system clear of debris and schedule annual maintenance to take care of the rest. Professionals have all the right tools for the job and they know just what to look for when maintaining the system.
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