Types of Air Compressors
Air compressors can be used to power some of the most important and useful home appliances, like an air conditioners. There are different types of air compressors available for this purpose, with varying features and capabilities.
We’ll look at the different types of air compressors for an air conditioner, their features, and the cost of each one.
Rotary compressors are some of the most widely used types of air conditioning compressors. They are named for their distinctive rotary-style operation. These units use two curved blades that rotate within a specially designed cylindrical chamber to achieve refrigerant compression.
The blades create small pockets of low-pressure air as they rotate, allowing the refrigerant to reach higher pressure and eventually forcing it out as compressed air.
Reciprocating compressors, also known as piston compressors, are among the most widely used types of air compressors. They are recognized for their noise reduction and reliability in both home and industrial settings.
Reciprocating compressors employ a positive displacement operation where a rotary crankshaft draws air past intake valves, compresses it to a predetermined pressure, and then temporarily stores it in an air tank.
Air is discharged by the compressor through an outlet valve which is connected to a piping system that carries the compressed air further into the facility or home for use with other equipment, including HVAC systems.
Scroll compressors, also known as scroll pumps, are like rotary compressors but with a more complex design. They are often used in high-efficiency air conditioners and heat pumps. Scroll compressors use two interleaved spiral-shaped scrolls to move the refrigerant by compression.
This unique design offers several advantages for air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Scroll compressors are capable of very low noise levels – as much as 50 percent less than a standard compressor. They are compact, require fewer components, and have fewer moving parts than other types of compressors, making them more energy efficient.
The design also provides an enhanced cooling capacity by pumping higher volumes of refrigerant even when temperatures or pressures change significantly over time. Scroll compressors tend to have longer lifespans than other types of compressors and can be used for many years when properly maintained.
Factors Affecting the Cost of an Air Compressor
When it comes to air compressors for air conditioning systems, there are many factors to consider when it comes to their cost. The size of the compressor, the type of the compressor, the amount of energy efficiency, the location where the compressor will be installed and the make and model of the compressor will all play a role in determining the cost of the air compressor. Let’s explore these factors in more depth.
When determining the cost of an air compressor for an air conditioner, one of the most important factors to consider is the capacity. This refers to the amount of air it will be able to store and output in a given time frame. Generally, larger capacity is also associated with higher cost, as these compressors are usually more powerful and efficient than smaller models.
Type of Compressor
The type and size of the air compressor you purchase will greatly affect the cost. There are four main types of compressors to choose from reciprocating, rotary screw, centrifugal, and scroll compressors.
- Reciprocating compressors are generally less expensive but can provide significantly less efficient compared to other compressor types. These compressors contain pistons that move up and down to create compression.
- Rotary screw air compressors use two interlocking screws to create compression rather than pistons as reciprocating compressors do, producing greater efficiency at the expense of a higher price point.
- Centrifugal air compressors measure higher on both price and performance compared to the first two compressor types listed here due to their larger designs and require many more input systems such as coolers than other types need to work effectively with small power sources like diesel or electric motors.
- Scroll air compressors tend to provide an even higher output potential than centrifugal options for much greater efficiency with an even lower power requirement if sized correctly but often come with very high price points compared to their counterparts depending on what brand is chosen.
The brand of an air compressor is one of the main factors affecting its price. As a general rule, premium-level brands like Ingersoll Rand, Quincy Compressor, Sullair, and Rotary will cost more than mid-level or economy brands.
Premium-level compressors are built with higher levels of quality and longevity in mind and are more reliable over a longer period.
Mid-level brands such as Campbell Hausfeld and Craftsman tend to be less expensive but still deliver good performance; however, they may not have the same level of quality or long-term durability as similarly priced premium-level compressors.
Economy brands such as Harbor Freight often offer much lower prices for comparable performance; however, their noise levels may be higher than mid-level or premium compressors.
Average Cost of an Air Compressor
An air compressor is a key component in an air conditioning system. The cost of an air compressor can vary depending on the brand, size, and type of compressor you purchase. It can also depend on the type of air conditioning system you have. Let’s explore the average cost of an air compressor so you can make an informed purchasing decision.
Rotary compressors are the most common type of compressor used in air conditioners and systems. These compressors use two interlocking rotors to force refrigerant gas into a confined area.
Reciprocating compressors are the oldest type of air compressor, and one of the most cost-effective for residential use. Despite its age, it is still the most popular choice of compressor for many people, primarily because of its affordability and reliability.
These compressors work by connecting a crankshaft to a piston within a cylinder, creating pressure as it moves back and forth. The air pressure created is typically around 100 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch), and is suitable for most home or workshop applications.
The main benefit of reciprocating compressors is their efficiency at lower pressures, making them ideal for basic jobs like filling tires or sandblasting machines.
Scroll Compressors are Fractional Horsepower (FHP) units that generally provide better performance than piston compressors at higher operating efficiency, continuous duty, and significantly lower noise levels.
Unlike reciprocating compressors, scroll compressors do not require valves and check/flow valves which can limit low-pressure operation as well as limit the airflow that you need in some applications.
Scroll Compressor cost depends on several factors including size, brand, and type of compressor. The average cost of a scroll compressor set up to run a 1-3 ton residential air conditioning unit is between $300 – $450.
Installing an air compressor can be a great way to save money on your air conditioning costs. Air compressors are commonly used to provide the necessary pressure to maintain cool air temperatures.
Consider purchasing a used air compressor
If you’re looking for cost-saving solutions for purchasing an air compressor for your air conditioner, then considering buying a used air compressor is a great option. Used compressors can offer significant cost savings but may come with some trade-offs in terms of energy efficiency and performance.
When choosing a used compressor, you should do your research to make sure that it will be the right fit for your needs. Consider whether the unit is being sold as-is or if it has been recently inspected and serviced. Inspecting the compressor in person can help you determine if it’s in good working order and if it’s compatible with your air conditioner system.
It’s also important to consider the cost savings versus potential repair costs associated with buying a used unit. For example, you might save money on the initial purchase price of a used unit but find yourself spending more than expected on repairs or replacement parts down the line.
Do your research and compare prices
Before you purchase any air compressor for your air conditioner, it is important to take the time to do some research into different models and compare prices. Not all compressors will fit all types of air conditioners, so you should double-check that the model you are considering is compatible with your system before buying it.
Doing a bit of research into the specifications for the type of compressor you need can go a long way toward ensuring that you get one that meets your needs and fits within your budget.
Make sure to read user reviews, as they are an excellent resource for helping to decide which model will be right for your application. Additionally, locating store coupons or online discounts can help further reduce costs when making a purchase.
Take some time to browse different retailers and compare prices while checking out discounts or deals before settling on a model. Additionally, consider purchasing generic parts instead of more expensive brand-specific ones. Although some types may have different warranty conditions than others, whether purchasing online or in-store, doing comparison shopping pays off in the long run in terms of both cost efficiency and product quality.
Buy from a reputable supplier
Look online or consult with other HVAC professionals or your local better business bureau to find out which retailers provide reliable customer service, competitive pricing, and quality products. Avoid ‘fly-by-night’ stores which may offer lower prices but may not have the expertise or resources needed to help you find what you need.
Buying from a reputable supplier can often net some great cost-saving opportunities since many stores assist their customers with bundled features such as free installation and delivery services.
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