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The AC compressor on your home or business’s air conditioning unit is vitally important to the machine’s ability to generate cold air. The AC compressor is responsible for pumping the refrigerant into the unit that enables it to create cool air. Let’s take a look at a few ways to figure out if this vital component has gone bad.

Warm Air? It Could be the Result of a bad AC Compressor

If your air conditioning unit emits warm air or air that can’t be classified as “cool”, there might be an issue with the AC compressor. A faulty AC compressor will simply blow around air that is the current temperature, regardless of how low you have the air conditioner set. If your air conditioner fails to emit cool air, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Instead, reach out to a professional HVAC technician who will be able to determine if the AC compressor really is at fault.

Listen Closely to Identify AC Compressor Faults

You can perform a little experiment to determine if your air conditioner’s AC compressor is functional. Turn the thermostat down to a temperature that is lower than your usual summer setting. This will provide the outside unit with a reason to turn on. If the outside unit turns on but sounds odd, it might be because you are simply hearing the fan operate rather than the AC compressor. Such an abnormal sound is a strong indication that there is a problem with your unit’s AC compressor. Also, any sort of clanking or buzzing sound is also an indication that the compressor is malfunctioning.

A Hard-Starting Air Conditioner is a Sign of a Flawed AC Compressor

If your air conditioner is hard-starting, it is a sign that the AC compressor has failed or will soon fail. Such an issue tends to occur when you attempt to start the unit against a head pressure. The term “head pressure” refers to an instance when one switches off the air conditioner while the compressor was operating and then immediately attempted to turn it back on with little time in between.


An Increase In Electric Bills is an Indication that the AC Compressor is Malfunctioning

If your building’s electric bills increase, it might be the result of a failing compressor motor. However, make sure that you haven’t increased the number of hours that you use the air conditioner before pinning the blame on the compressor. The US Energy Department has outlined standards to follow in order to decrease energy consumption in regards to this.

Take a Look at the AC Compressor Motor

Sometimes an air conditioner’s sealed compressor motor burns out. A burn out refers to an instance where the compressor motor’s internal wiring suffers irreparable damage. When the compressor motor windings are burned they can become shorted with one another or to the compressor motor’s steel shell. In other instances, the windings will burn and completely disconnect. If you notice that the AC compressor motor has burned out in any of these manners, it must be replaced.

Improper Pressure from the AC Compressor

If your air conditioner does not develop the proper pressure, it might be time to replace the AC compressor. Even if the unit’s electric motor is still functional, a replacement of the AC compressor still might be necessary.

Fixing an AC Compressor Requires Professional Attention

If you notice any of the above referenced clues that your system’s AC compressor is broken, do not attempt a DIY repair. Instead, reach out to our highly trained HVAC experts. Our air conditioning professionals will take a close look at your system including the AC compressor to diagnose the real problem and perform a thorough repair.
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FAQ: How to Diagnose a Faulty AC Compressor

1. What are the Signs of a Bad AC Compressor?

  • If your air conditioning unit blows warm air instead of cool air, it could be a sign of a faulty AC compressor. This can happen when the compressor fails to pump refrigerant effectively, hindering the cooling process. Pay attention to any unusual sounds like clanking or buzzing, as they could also indicate compressor issues.

2. How can I Determine if my AC Compressor is Malfunctioning?

  • You can perform a simple test by setting your thermostat to a lower temperature than usual. If the outside unit turns on but you hear odd noises or the air remains warm, it’s likely that the AC compressor is at fault. Additionally, an increase in your electric bills without a corresponding increase in usage can point to compressor issues.

3. What Causes an AC Compressor to Fail?

  • There are several factors that can contribute to AC compressor failure. One common cause is a hard-starting air conditioner, which occurs when the unit is turned on immediately after being switched off. This puts excessive pressure on the compressor, leading to wear and tear over time.

4. Can a Burned-Out Compressor Motor be Repaired?

  • Unfortunately, if the compressor motor has suffered irreversible damage such as burned windings, it will need to be replaced. Attempting to repair a burned-out motor is not advisable as it can compromise the efficiency and safety of the air conditioning unit.

5. Is it Safe to DIY Repair an AC Compressor?

  • It’s highly recommended to seek professional help when dealing with AC compressor issues. Trying to repair the compressor yourself can be risky and may result in further damage to the unit. HVAC experts have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the problem accurately and perform the necessary repairs safely.

6. What Should I Do if I Suspect my AC Compressor is Faulty?

  • If you notice any of the aforementioned signs indicating AC compressor problems, don’t hesitate to contact our team of HVAC professionals. We specialize in diagnosing and repairing air conditioning systems, ensuring optimal performance and comfort for your home or business.

7. Can a Faulty AC Compressor Increase Energy Consumption?

  • Yes, a malfunctioning AC compressor can lead to higher energy bills. When the compressor struggles to cool the air efficiently, it may run for longer periods or consume more power than usual. This not only affects your comfort but also your wallet in the form of increased electricity costs.

8. How Often Should I Have my AC Compressor Checked?

  • It’s advisable to schedule regular maintenance checks for your air conditioning system, including the compressor. Annual inspections can help identify potential issues early on and prevent costly repairs down the line. Additionally, keeping the filters clean and ensuring proper airflow can prolong the life of your AC compressor.

9. What are the Consequences of Ignoring AC Compressor Problems?

  • Ignoring AC compressor issues can lead to further damage to the unit and compromise its efficiency. In severe cases, a malfunctioning compressor can cause the entire air conditioning system to fail, leaving you without cool air during hot summer months. Addressing problems promptly can save you time, money, and discomfort in the long run.

10. How Long Does an AC Compressor Typically Last?

  • The lifespan of an AC compressor can vary depending on factors such as usage, maintenance, and environmental conditions. On average, a well-maintained compressor can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. However, regular inspections and timely repairs can extend its longevity and ensure reliable performance.