Using and Maintaining HVAC Systems in Rental Properties

Three Symptoms Of An AC Compressor Failure

The summer heat is here, and that means that your air conditioning system is more important than ever. There's nothing better than coming home to a nice, cool house after a day out in the sun. The great part about any central air conditioning system is its ability to keep your entire house at a comfortable and controlled temperature, but like any other complex system, it has many potential points of failure. Unfortunately, these failures tend to happen at the worst times, leaving you sweating in the sweltering summer heat.

Your AC system's compressor is one of its most important units, and it's guaranteed to leave you drenched in a pile of sweat if it stops working. If you think your compressor is about to fail, keep an eye out for these common symptoms.

Symptom #1: Electrical Problems

Your compressor requires a large and steady load of electricity, and this draw happens whenever it powers on. A compressor that is beginning to fail may be drawing this power inconsistently or it may be drawing too much power, resulting in shorts that will trip your breakers or blow fuses. While your circuit breaker being tripped once doesn't necessarily mean that your compressor has failed, it's time to get suspicious if it's happening repeatedly. If you notice that the trips are occurring whenever the compressor turns on, then it is almost certainly failing.

Symptom #2: Extremely Loud Noises

In most split AC systems, the compressor is located in the outdoor unit. If you happen to be standing near the unit when it turns on, then it usually makes an audible noise. It should not, however, make a loud bang, grinding, or clanging noise. If you hear any of these noises, especially if they are loud enough to be heard inside the house, then it's likely that you've got a problem. While this is a great time to call in a professional, it doesn't hurt to step outside and make sure that the panels on the outdoor unit are tightened down. Sometimes loose panels can create a disconcerting rattling noise that can be mistaken for a compressor issue.

Symptom #3: It's Hot Inside

It goes without saying, but if there's warm air blowing from your vents, then your AC is probably not working properly. Unfortunately, this often points towards a problem with your compressor. If warm air is coming from the vents, then your AC unit is running, but refrigerant is likely not circulating as it should be. Since the compressor is primarily responsible for circulating refrigerant by compressing it into a high-pressure gas, it is usually the first suspect any time the system seems to be cooling inadequately.

If you suspect that your AC compressor is failing, always call a professional for a complete diagnosis. While many of these symptoms are likely to be caused by a bad compressor, there are other potential underlying causes as well, and a trained technician is best equipped to get to the bottom of the problem. Contact an AC system repair service for more help.