How to Tell if Home AC Compressor is Bad

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home ac compressor is bad

How to Tell if Home AC Compressor is Bad

Category:General,Tips

Nobody wants to have to face a bad home ac compressor, but it does happen. In this post I’m going to share some signs and symptoms of a bad ac compressor along with some maintenance tips to help prevent the ac compressor from going bad. Replacing an ac compressor is one of the most expensive ac repair jobs out there, so properly maintaining this component is important. If the ac compressor is indeed bad, you will want to decide if you should replace the ac compressor or the whole unit.

First off, let’s get into some of the signs to tell if your home ac compressor is bad.

Symptom #1: Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker

If your air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker, then it might be due to the compressor. When compressors get old and start to go bad they can have a hard time starting. This can result in the compressor drawing more electricity than the circuit breaker limit and it “trips” as a safety precaution. If this is happening consistently do not keep resetting the circuit breaker. Simply contact a HVAC technician to come out and assess the problem.

Symptom #2: Air Conditioner Making Loud Noises

Another sign to look out for is a noisy air conditioner. When a compressor is starting to fail, it can begin to make loud noises such as knocking, hissing, or rattling noises. These will be prevalent especially at start up. This can be the result of the compressor “hard starting” because it’s having trouble starting or a component of the compressor might have come loose or broken.

Symptom #3: Air Conditioner is Not Cooling At All

If the airflow that is coming into your home or business is no longer cool, then it might be a compressor related issue. If the compressor isn’t working properly, warmer air or a lack of airflow can be a symptom.

Now, it could very well be the case that the ac unit is simply low on refrigerant. If this is the case, you will still want to find out why and have the problem repaired. Otherwise, you will constantly be spending money to have the refrigerant level refilled.

Related: Is your AC Low on Freon, Continuously?

Symptom #4: Lights in the Home or Business Continuously Dimming

The last symptom I want to mention is caused by the ac compressor pulling extra electricity because it is having a hard time starting. The compressor has likely locked up. This can cause the internal and external lights of the related home or business to dim sporadically. You also might notice an increase in the electrical bill.

Now, let’s get into some maintenance tips that can help prevent an ac compressor from going bad. These are very important.

ac compressor bad

AC Compressor Maintenance Tips

The most relevant items to be maintained to help maintain the life of the ac compressor are the condenser coils and evaporator coils. If these coils get covered in dirt and grime, it can prevent them from doing their jobs properly. If the coils cannot transfer out the heat that they are meant to transfer, then the compressor is going to be running more than it needs to. The compressor will be having to work extra hard because the coils aren’t removing heat as they are supposed to and therefore the compressor is having to cool more to get rid of the extra heat that is remaining.

It’s also important to have the refrigerant level checked, especially if you are experiencing a drop in the cooling power of your ac unit. You also might notice the ac unit running longer than normal. If the refrigerant level is low, then the compressor will have to work harder and longer to produce enough cold air to reach the thermostat’s set temperature.

Lastly, changing the air filter is vital to the longevity of your ac unit’s compressor. If the air filter isn’t changed regularly, it can become clogged with dirt and small debris. This can significantly reduce the airflow which again will cause the compressor to work harder and longer than normal.

Some of these maintenance tips can be performed by the homeowner or business owner, such as changing the air filter. Most of the others, however, should be performed by a certified HVAC technician.

At Cagle Service we offer air conditioner preventive maintenance year round. It’s only $69 per unit and you can rest assured that your air conditioner has the proper care and maintenance to operate at it’s peak ability. Feel free to give us a call at 731-300-1030 and ask about our VIP Priority Maintenance Package. We serve Jackson TN and the surrounding areas.


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