What is an AC Condenser Unit?

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ac condenser unit

What is an AC Condenser Unit?

Category:General,Tips

Have you ever heard the term “ac condenser unit” or just “the condenser unit” when it comes to an air conditioner? You probably have. And you’ve probably wondered which part of the air conditioner system the condenser unit is. In this post I’m going to share this information with you and much more!

Get ready to learn what the ac condenser unit is, how it works, and how much it costs.

First Off, What is an AC Condenser Unit?

To make it simple, the ac unit’s condenser is typically the outdoor section of the ac unit. This will also be true for a heat pump system as well. The condenser section of the ac unit is made up of the ac compressor, ac condenser fan and the ac condenser coil. All of these components are located in the outside section of the air conditioner. Other components, such as the evaporator coil or air handler, will be located with the indoor section of the system.

Let’s get into how the ac condenser actually works and does it’s job.

How an AC Condenser Works

First off, we need to understand how air conditioners works as a whole. Rather than producing cold air, an air conditioner actually removes heat from the air through refrigerant. It releases the extracted heat outside and delivers the remaining cooler air into your home or business.

As warm air is pulled in from inside the home through return ducts, the heat is absorbed by the gaseous refrigerant flow through the evaporator coils. The cool air that is leftover is dispersed inside the home or business to cool to the desired temperature.

The refrigerant, containing the heat extracted from inside the home/business, then flows to the outdoor condenser unit. This low pressure, heated refrigerant enters the ac compressor and is pressurized which causes the temperature of the refrigerant to rise dramatically. This heat filled refrigerant is then transferred to the condensing coil and from here the heat is released as the condenser fan blows air over the condenser coils causing the refrigerant within to lose it’s heat.

As the refrigerant cools, it transforms from a gas into a liquid. From here the refrigerant flows back into the evaporator indoors and repeats the process.

Hopefully my quick breakdown of the air conditioning process helps you understand a little more of how an air conditioner, primarily the condenser unit, works.

Related: What is an AC Evaporator Coil?

Now, let’s get into one last point. The ac compressor is one of the most common and expensive parts to go bad in the condenser unit. So, sometimes people replace the whole ac unit rather than the compressor since it’s such a costly job. But another option is replacing only the condenser unit (apart from the indoor section of the unit), so I want to go over the possible cost of this scenario.

AC Condenser Unit Cost

Although it is recommended to replace the outdoor condenser unit and the indoor section of the ac unit at the same time, the condenser unit can be replaced on it’s own.

How much does that cost?

Our estimation for a 2 ton ac condenser unit, for example, would start at around $1700-$1800. This would include the unit, delivery and installation. Obviously, the size of the ac unit and brand of the unit is going to impact the price. For this starting price I referenced a Goodman unit.

So, if you are on a tight budget and the failing component(s) is located in the condenser unit, replacing this unit alone is an option.

I Hope This Helped!

Thanks for taking the time to read this informative post! If you live in or around Jackson TN and have questions or issues concerning your condenser unit or air conditioner in general, feel free to give us a call at 731-300-1030. We service, repair and install air conditioners for both residential and commercial applications.


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