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HVAC Air Conditioner Compressor - Rooftop HVAC Air Conditioning System

HVAC Compressor

The compressor is the central functioning unit of any cooling system and the same is true of the HVAC compressor. In general, a compressor is a mechanism that, as its name suggests, compresses gas by diminishing its volume. This is the primary basis of any heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC).

When a gas is compressed in the HVAC unit, the temperature of the gas naturally increases. In effort to represent the process of gas compression, there are two abstract comparisons between pressure and temperature in a given volume of a compressing gas. It is important to recognize that this is only an example and does not exactly match the real world, but can be useful for comparison and examination:

Isothermal: This illustration presumes that the gas which is compressed stays at a consistent temperature throughout the process of compression or expansion. During this cycle, internal power is taken out of the system and heat at the same speed is added during the compression work of the mechanism. When a large surface for exchanging heat is present, then the Isothermal example more closely resembles real life compression. This is also true when there is small gas volume or a long time frame. Perfect isothermal compression is accomplished in compressors that use inter-stage cooling in between the different stages of compression.

Adiabatic: This illustration presumes that no heat, or energy, is transported from the gas while it is undergoing the compression process. It also assumes that all the work supplied is increased to the internal energy of the compressed gas which results in an increase of pressure and temperature. This rise in temperature and air means that compression does not follow a common ratio of pressure to volume. This tends to be less efficient but is much more quickly accomplished. When there is good insulation, a short time frame and larger gas volume, then adiabatic compression more tightly resembles real life compression.

Polytrophic: This illustration considers both loss of energy, or heat, as well as a rise in temperature. This presumes that heat is able to leave or enter the compression system and that the input work in the shaft will appear as both increased pressure (which results in useful running) and increased temperature, which would be above adiabatic (which results in losses because of the efficiency of the cycle is lacking). In this case, the efficiency of compression is the ratio of actual (polytrophic) versus temperature rising at a hypothetical one hundred percent (adiabatic).

The desired result of the HVAC system is a change in temperature and the compression of gas is a means to that end, as it works together with the entire heating, ventilation and air conditioning system. The functionality of your HVAC compressor directly relates to the overall working of your HVAC system. It is imperative to properly maintain and service the entire HVAC unit as recommended by your dealer or service provider. With the proper maintenance of your unit, you will experience comfortable environmental conditions inside your home or building for many years to come.

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