Outdoor Compressor and Condenser

This is the box-shaped unit that sits outside your house that most people think of when they think of an air conditioner. This unit is effectively the work horse of the system. It houses the compressor, condenser, radiator and condenser fan that make this whole process work.


This is the most important, most expensive, piece in the whole system. It'll be the largest piece of the unit typically sitting right in the middle of the cabinet. It houses the refrigerant as a cool low-pressure gas. It compresses the refrigerant and passes it to the condenser as a hot high-pressure gas.


The Condenser is a long snaked copper tube that travels around the outside of the compressor just inside the walls of the cabinet. It is surrounded by metal fins that act like a radiator to help dissipate heat. The condenser cools the gas while keeping it at high pressure and passes the refrigerant as a cool liquid, through a tiny hole or expansion valve, to the indoor evaporator coil.


Surrounds the condenser tubing to help dissipate heat. Looks like many thin metal fins just like a car radiator.

Condenser Fan

Large fan that sits on top of the outdoor cabinet and helps dissipate heat from the condenser.

How an Air Conditioner Works Diagram

We'll examine the Indoor Coil next: Next >>>