AC Compressors vs. AC Condensers

Woman turns on air conditioning in a car

Condensers and compressors are two key components that make up automobile air conditioning systems. Each works in tandem to keep your vehicle nice and cool, but many people want to know the specific differences between A/C compressors vs. A/C condensers.

A/C Compressor

The compressor is the device that begins a chain reaction needed to cool down the refrigerant. Heat will move into areas that are cooler, and when room temperature-based air traverses through the evaporator, heat will be eliminated. The heat will then pass along the refrigerant where it will be fed inside the compressor.

The refrigerant will then be compressed, after which it condenses into fluid, and will be subsequently released while under pressure. During this time the refrigerant will be substantially hotter than before, but the heat will be dissipated via the coils of the condenser. Once it reaches the final point of a loop, the refrigerant becomes cold once again and will be fed inside evaporator coils. The cycle will continue while the air conditioner is activated, and certain HVAC units actually have compressors that reverse the procedure, where the output becomes heated air rather than cold. Refrigerant must also pass through the expansion valve.

A/C Condenser

The condenser has been designed to condense substances from a gaseous to liquid state through cooling. It comes in the form of a coil where heat will be removed. The consolidation unit will be situated externally, and the initial capacity serves as the warmth exchanger, where the substance will be gathered (refrigerant) from a vaporous to molten-like state. Next, the heat which is latent will be surrendered via the content where an exchange will occur with condenser coolant. During a refrigeration cycle, the warm pump will transfer warmth from the lower temperature closer source into an elevated temperature warmth sink.

Within the condenser, refrigerant vapor will be constrained and compacted via the warm trade loop, collecting it inside the fluid and then dismissing heat that was already retained through the colder indoor zone. The heat exchanger of the condenser will be cooled via a fan that blows external air through it.

How Do The Two Components Work Together?

While the compressor and condenser are distinct and have separate tasks to perform, they also work in unison. The primary responsibility of the compressor is to “compress” gas and prepare the refrigerant for the multiple-step phases where it traverses the compressor and becomes liquid vapor. The condenser is best thought of as a transformer.

It will alter gas refrigerant so it becomes liquid, which is then used by the air conditioning system to generate frigid air. The condenser will take gas that has been pressurized and transform it to become liquid, and once the vapor has been processed via cooling and filtering, it can be circulated within the air of the vehicle’s cabin. It should also be noted that these two components are located in close proximity to one another and it is for this reason that many people often confuse them for being the same device.