Air Conditioning Condenser

The air conditioning condenser is where the refrigerant releases the heat that it absorbed inside the building.

Most air cooled condensers are designed to operate with a saturated condensing temperature that's about 20° to 30° higher than ambient outdoor temperatures.

Water cooled systems are designed to operate with a saturated condensing temperature that's about 20° higher than entering water temperature, 10° higher than leaving water temperature.

As the refrigerant vapor travels through the condenser, it condenses as it releases its (latent) heat content to the cooler air or water flowing through the coil.

The refrigerant vapor cools and condenses, and the air or water warm up.

When I'm working on a unit, in my mind I see a place in the condenser coil piping where the drops of condensing refrigerant vapor are dropping into the surface of a pool of liquid refrigerant that fills the rest of the condenser, and the liquid line, all the way to the metering device.

I consider the top surface of this pool to be the "magic spot" in the condenser.

I see it as the actual spot where my gauges are reading the saturated condensing pressure and temperature, and I think of it as the spot where the subcooling begins.

Are you having a problem with your air conditioning condenser?

Our Troubleshoot Air Conditioning Condensing Unit page has some tips that might help.

Are you in the process of selecting a replacement condensing unit?

Be sure the btu capacity of your replacement air conditioning condenser is exactly the same as your evaporator, and that the voltage requirement matches your original condenser.

Get the model number of your evaporator unit (indoor air handler), and find out exactly what the btu capacity is.

You may need to contact the manufacturer.

Your replacement condenser should have the exact same btu capacity as your evaporator.

If you've recently replaced your air conditioning condenser and are having some problems, check the model numbers and capacities of the indoor and outdoor units, and make sure they match.

They don't have to be from the same manufacturer, but the btu capacities do have to match.

Are you a technician with a question about what operating characteristics to look for in an air conditioning condenser?

In our System Evaluation Manual you'll find a cycle diagram, and information about how to evaluate air conditioning and refrigeration system pressures and temperatures.

I hope this page has helped, and please, feel free to contact us with any specific HVAC questions you might have, including questions about air conditioning on Guam, and refrigeration on Guam.

Are you learning the HVAC Trade "on the job"?
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You'll find a brief review of the course on our HVAC Training page.

Return from Air Conditioning Condenser to the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Guide home page.

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