The compressor is one of the most important parts of an AC unit. It is responsible for moving the refrigerant between the evaporator and condenser coils, ensuring that it changes into gas or liquid as required.
AC compressors can last anywhere between 10 and 15 years. Compressors that are not maintained regularly or properly can fail sooner than expected. Electrical failure, lack of lubrication, age-related deterioration, low refrigerant levels, overheating, clogged, or damaged suction lines, and lack of lubrication can cause AC compressor failure as well.
On a hot, humid summer afternoon, the last thing you need is an AC with a faulty compressor. When an AC compressor fails, less air comes out from the vents. The AC blows warm air and runs continuously and consumes more electricity than usual. If ignored, a failed AC compressor can cause serious, even irreparable damage.
Loud, Weird Noises Coming From the Compressor
Your AC compressor may make some noises when you turn the unit on or off. This is normal, however, if you hear unusual, loud noises coming from your compressor there is something amiss with it.
The compressor consists of several parts. It uses a sealed bearing to turn. Loud noises coming from your compressor could mean that one or more of these parts are damaged or its internal bearings have failed or seized.
If you hear a screeching noise coming from your AC compressor, its fan motor may have failed. Continuous clicking noise at the beginning or end of cooling cycles indicates a malfunctioning thermostat. A grinding noise is caused by a worn-out compressor.
Sometimes a unit may vibrate when it starts. This could mean that the compressor is having problems starting and can fail at any time. Therefore, have an expert inspect your AC as soon as possible. If your AC compressor is damaged beyond repair, replace it before it causes any further damage.
Compressor Does Not Turn On
Is your outdoor unit’s fan working but the compressor does not appear to be running at all? You have a problem with your hands. Turn your AC off and see if the compressor comes on. If the problem persists, your compressor may have already failed. The sooner you have a professional look into the matter, the better.
A failed compressor is expensive to replace. If your unit is on its last legs and your compressor is damaged beyond repair, consider replacing your system instead of just the compressor.
System Blows Warm air
Does your condenser appear to be running but your unit blows warm air? You may be dealing with a compressor problem. A compressor problem can affect your compressor’s ability to pump refrigerant through the system, resulting in reduced cooling power.
If your system has been gradually losing its cooling power, you may have a refrigerant leak. As the refrigerant levels drop, the strain on the compressor increases, and it may eventually fail. Schedule a professional inspection and maintenance before it’s too late.
The Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
If your condensing unit keeps losing power and tripping the circuit breaker, it may fail at any time. This happens when your compressor draws more power than usual and, as a result, overheats. Turn your unit off. Reset the circuit breaker and turn your AC on. If the problem persists, consult an AC technician.
Reduced airflow is one of the earliest signs of a failing compressor. How to tell if you have an airflow problem? Put your hands near a vent. If the flow of air seems weak and the air is not as cool as it should be, your AC has weak airflow.
High Electric Bill
Have you noticed an inexplicable spike in your electric bill? Your compressor may be to blame. A failing compressor forces the unit to work harder and longer than usual and consumes more electricity.
Tips To Maintain AC Compressor
Why wait for your AC compressor to fail and then repair it when you can prevent problems in the first place with a preventive maintenance plan? Regular maintenance can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars on repairs and headaches down the road. Ongoing maintenance fixes current problems and prevents potential issues before they occur. A well-maintained AC compressor is reliable.
Keep It Clean
Clean your outside unit periodically. Pull large clumps of dirt, any leaves, or other debris by hand. Brush off any cobwebs. Get rid of dirt and lint buildup. Trim vegetation including bushes and tree limbs back around the outdoor unit. Make sure plants and shrubs are at least three feet away from the compressor.
To wash your outdoor unit, first, turn off the power. Use a hose to spray down the unit and dislodge any dirt. If your AC is super dirty, spray a foaming coil cleaner onto your coils. Do not use a strong stream of water or you may inadvertently damage the delicate coils. Once you have cleaned your condenser, turn the power back on.
Check for Leaking Refrigerant
Refrigerant leaks are a common cause of compressor failure. Some signs of refrigerant leaks include poor cooling, high electricity bill, longer cooling cycles, and bubbling or hissing noises. If you notice these signs, have a professional check your AC refrigerant levels.
Keep Your Suction Lines Clean
The compressor is designed to handle a certain amount of pressure. When the AC’s suction lines become clogged, the pressure on the compressor increases, causing compression failure. To prevent issues, clean your suction lines every month.