The Compressor | HVAC Refrigeration - In a typical HVAC air conditioner or heat pump, there are four major components that make the process of refrigeration work. Basically, this is how air conditioners work. And how heat pumps work. The first component in the process is a compressor or the heart of an air conditioner or heat pump system.
The Compressor | HVAC Refrigeration - How it Works
The compressor receives the refrigerant vapor from the evaporator coil and compresses the refrigerant vapor. The vapor enters the refrigeration compressor at low pressure and a low temperature and leaves the refrigeration compressor at a higher temperature and a higher pressure. The lower temperature refrigerant vapor is responsible for providing cooling for the refrigeration compressor and it also carries with it a small amount of oil which migrates from the compressor throughout the system.
After the refrigerant vapor is compressed it is discharged to the condenser coil. A compressor is an essential component in the vapor compression process of refrigeration.
It is necessary for the evaporator to supply the compressor with vapor refrigerant as it is impossible to compress a liquid. Compressors that receive liquid refrigerant can fail mechanically. In heat pump applications the system is equipped with a refrigerant accumulator. The accumulator allows liquid to boil into a vapor before entering a compressor thereby preventing any liquid refrigerant from entering the compressor.
The Compressor | HVAC Refrigeration - Liquid Slugging
The term liquid slugging is used for compressors that receive liquid refrigerants. A properly installed, maintained, and engineered air conditioner or heat pump system will never experience liquid slugging so it is especially important that qualified personnel install and service air conditioning and heat pump systems.
There are different types of compressors used in HVAC. For a comprehensive list of these compressors and a description along with applications for various compressors see our refrigeration category.
The Compressor | HVAC Refrigeration
Technical Resource: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technology