HVAC 101: All About Air Conditioner Condenser Parts

Air conditioning is no longer a choice but a necessity in many countries. Needless to say, your air conditioner is almost always running, so it is prone to malfunctions. To avoid this, you need to maintain your AC regularly. However, to do proper check-ups, you should know more about the system.

Familiarizing yourself with the air conditioner can save you a lot of money. Therefore, we will help you better understand one of the main parts of your AC–the condenser. We will explain its function and tell you all about condenser parts. Stick around to find out more!

Furthermore, if you would like to research on your own, go ahead and visit this page!

What Is a Condenser?

Your air conditioner has three major parts that work together to cool and filter the air in your home. These are the following:

1.The compressor

2. The condenser

3. The evaporator

For now, we will only focus on the condenser. This device serves to extract heat from the interior of the unit and transfer it outside. The condenser consists of hollow coils where the refrigerant circulates in order to cool the air.

Since the condenser is the part where most action takes place, it must be maintained regularly. Otherwise, moisture inside your AC may form corrosive substances in the unit, and there might even be water leaking from the AC into your home. Make sure to keep it in shape at all times!

Condenser Unit Components

The condenser is actually an elementary device that consists of only a couple of parts. The more you know about them, the less likely you are to get scammed by sketchy technicians. Therefore, you should keep yourself informed. This will also help you maintain the unit properly. Here are the main parts of the condenser:

1. Compressor

The compressor is a crucial component of the condenser unit. If your compressor breaks down, you will most likely have to replace it or get a completely new unit. You will not be able to use any DIY techniques to prevent this. However, what you can do is take care of it before anything happens. Maintenance can make any part last much longer!

The compressor takes the warm refrigerant vapor, compresses it into a denser form, and pushes it outside. This process causes the refrigerant to heat up, and the pressure and temperature increase as well! Compressors heavily rely on refrigerants for proper functioning, and if the refrigerant leaks, this can cause severe damage to the compressor.

These devices come in different types and sizes, and they are usually hermetic. This means that they are sealed, and you cannot open them. The compressor is located right next to the condenser coil.

2. Condenser Coil

Once the compressor warms the refrigerant, it goes straight to the condenser coil, releasing the air outside. The coils must contain refrigerant; else, they’d be of no use! Basically, the liquid refrigerant turns into a gas inside the coils.

Nowadays, the air conditioners are much larger. The reason for this is efficiency. A more oversized AC has more coil space, which is very useful in turning refrigerant into gas.

Since condenser coils are so important, you should also know some of the most common issues you can encounter. These include:

Bent or flattened fins

Leaking from the coil pipes

Clogged fins by a nearby dryer exhaust, primarily due to dust and dirt

Nearby bushes preventing the air from flowing over fins

Most of these issues can be resolved by cleaning the unit or around it. However, if there are any leaks, you should call a technician and consider replacing the condenser coil or the entire unit.

3.  The Condenser Fan and Fan Motor

Much like the previous two components, the fan and fan motor are also essential parts of a condenser unit. Their primary purpose is to pull the air through condenser coils, cool the refrigerant, and help push the conditioned air outside.

Since the hot air is being drawn in by the fan, numerous problems can arise. It does not only take in the air but also the dirt and dust! This is why you should clean the coils every once in a while.

As the condenser unit is placed outdoors, the fan motor is sealed, so bad weather conditions cannot get to it. When purchasing this device, make sure that the housing protects the motor adequately. This part, alongside the compressor, is the most expensive component of the unit. Try to get an extended warranty, and make sure you care for the motor and the compressor. If not, you might end up with a hole in your pocket!

4. The Capacitor

The capacitor pretty much operates like a battery, as it holds power that boosts the motor and gets it running. This happens once you turn on the air conditioner.

If the capacitor fails, the entire unit will not be able to operate. The motor might overheat, or use more energy than usual, and even work harder than it should. You might also notice an oily discharge that will cause the top to be bumpy instead of flat.

Obviously, the main problem you will notice is that your AC is not turning on. Therefore, diagnosing a problem with the capacitor is relatively simple, and replacing it is not a hassle either. However, you should call a professional to do that for you!

5. The Contactor

There is a red button in the middle of the unit that pretty much serves as a drawbridge. If the thermostat overheats, it’ll send that message to the furnace, which the furnace will then send to the contactor via a 24V signal.

Once the power gets to the contactor, a magnetism will pull in the button above, and the power gets to the condenser fan and compressor. Sometimes, you might hear sounds coming from the unit when the button is pushed, but nothing really happens. If this is the case, be careful not to mess around with the contactor. Call for help, and have professionals resolve the issue!


The condenser unit consists of different parts, and all of them are crucial for the unit to operate properly. If any of these components break down, it’d be wise to call technicians for help. Maintaining the unit and the overall HVAC system regularly will minimize any such mishaps!

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