What Is a Condenser Unit?

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The condenser unit is the workhorse of an air conditioning system. The condenser unit is essentially where the “magic” happens, cooling the refrigerant over and over to provide cool, fresh air. The device has two important components, a compressor unit and a heat-transfer system, typically using air or water to help create a comfortable environment in your home. Learn more about this important component of your HVAC system below.

The Compressor

When steam cools, it condenses into liquid water. Heat energy leaves the tiny water molecules, causing them to slow down and take up less space. Naturally, they move closer together, coalesce and condense. Removing heat causes a gas to become a liquid, but it also works the other way too. If you compress the steam and bring the molecules close together, they will slow down and lose heat, finally becoming water.

A compressor unit, within the condenser, works in much the same way. The compressor squeezes the molecules of refrigerant, packing them together until they become still and the heat energy leaves the molecules.

Air-Cooled Systems

A lot of heat energy has just left the newly compressed and stilled molecules of refrigerant, and it needs to go somewhere, so the condenser unit needs some way to transfer heat. Most window and residential units use an air transfer system. Fans blow over the tubes carrying cooled refrigerant; these fans continually expel the hot air and bring in new molecules to accept the heat energy. That’s why the air around a condenser unit is often much warmer than the normal outside temperature.

Water-Cooled Systems

A water-cooled system works in a similar fashion, except that water carries away the heat energy. These are often used in industrial settings and although they might cost more than air cooled systems, they can be more efficient.

A condenser consists largely of a compressor and a heat transfer system. The compressor squeezes molecules of refrigerant together, causing them to slow down. A heat transfer system gets rid of the heat energy that escapes from the molecules, causing it to dissipate.

Learn More About Your HVAC System with One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater

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