Alarming Signs Of A Weakening Compressor

The compressor of an air conditioner is one of the most vital organs. It can be equated with a human heart. If something goes wrong with the compressor the whole unit will either come to a standstill or it will show problems in functioning. Under such condition the compressor should be inspected immediately so that further damages to it can be avoided. Replacing a compressor is superb-costly! But what symptoms should be watched out for to detect a probable compressor problem.

The compressor of an air conditioner performs a very vital function. It compresses the refrigerant to pressurize it and to make it hotter so that the heat is easily released into the surrounding through condensation.

No cool air coming from supply vents

If the compressor is not working, the cooling process of the air condition would come to doldrums. However warm air blowing out of the a/c is could be caused by number of reasons. The compressor failure is just one of them.


This is a term that is used to describe a condenser unit that stutters and shakes as it comes on. In other words it struggles hard to get activated. A failing compressor is one of the most common reasons for this. Hard starting happens usually due to a faulty start capacitor. The capacitor sends electrical jolts to the motor and helps it to start the compressor. Sometimes loose connections, a bad start relay, or low line voltage can also cause this. Lastly, the root cause of hard-starting can lie in the compressor itself. The compressor becomes tight or seized because of stress and wear and tear. It causes hard start issues.

Tripped breaker

At times when the compressor is weakening and failing, it begins working harder. As a result the circuit breaker gets tripped to stop the supply power to your air conditioner. Sometimes resetting the breaker works, but if it is happening frequently, the compressor could be at fault.

Bizarre noises from the unit

Sometimes you hear strange noises that come out of the air conditioner. All noises are not due to defective compressor. In case of a compressor failure the unit will operate more loudly than usual.

Replacing a compressor is costly. Therefore you should keep your compressor well-maintained to prevent it from breaking down. You will be happy to know that hat 80 percent of the issues that cause AC compressor failure are avoidable. If you have an annual maintenance plan for your unit, these snags will get detected and nipped into the bud before they blow out of proportion.

Here are some common causes of compressor failure

Filthy coils

When the condenser unit of the air conditioner is almost caked in dirt, it cannot function efficiently to vent out enough heat from the unit. The cabinet houses dirt, debris, leaves, soot, acids, and even bird and pest droppings. As a result it works without stopping to cool the house. This causes pressure on the compressor and causes it burn out and fail.

Choked suction lines

The refrigerant lines of the air conditioner sometimes get blocked or are damaged. You can compare this situation with blocked arteries and veins. This will increase the temperature and pressure of the compressor and cause it to fail.

Refrigerant level to high or low

Sometimes there are leaks in the refrigerant lines which cause Freon to leak out. The compressor has to work hard to pump enough refrigerant through the system to cool your space. The strain can in due course cause the compressor to break down. Again the size of the refrigerant line is very important. Too large or too small lines can result in premature AC compressor failure. Just like a low level of refrigerant is bad for the compressor, an overly filled system with Freon is also not good for it.

Electrical issues

Sometimes electrical problems in the system result in formation of acids that can cause damages to the compressor as well as other parts. If the technician suspects build-up of the acids, then he should asses the level of damage to unit. If the damage is quite big, the system is not worth repairing. It is important to get your unit professionally maintained to prevent electrical problems. Technicians can spot and repair damaged wiring, fuses and contractors before they start affecting your system.

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