Often referred to as the heart of air conditioning systems, AC compressors pressurize or compress refrigerant to keep it flowing. In essence, they drive the heat transfer process in your cooling equipment. If you hear loud clanging and banging sounds when using the AC in your Carrollton, Texas home, or if your air conditioner is blowing out warm air or has weak airflow, its compressor may be on the verge of failing.
Knowing how to recognize the signs of developing issues and intervening can mean the difference between minor AC repairs and full-on replacement. The following covers 10 common compressor issues along with tips for resolving them.
1. Dirty Air Filter
Surprisingly, most air conditioner problems start at the air filter. This seemingly minor component has a tremendous impact on how your air conditioner functions overall. Moreover, unless you have a reliable system for staying on top of air filter changes, it’s incredibly easy to overlook.
HVAC air filters should be changed at least once every three months. In busy households that use their HVAC equipment all the time, air filter changes should happen monthly. In fact, you may even need to change out dirty air filters more often if you have pets or happen to live in an area with lots of dust. A dirty filter will impede airflow. Airflow issues of any type can have a significant impact on your AC compressor’s performance.
2. Airflow Issues in Other Areas
Even if you’re good about changing out your HVAC air filter, this doesn’t mean that poor airflow doesn’t lie at the heart of your compressor problems. Take a look at your HVAC air vents. Dirt and debris buildup in these areas tend to have a gray, lint-like appearance. You may be able to wipe your vents clean with a damp towel. However, you can do a more thorough vent cleaning with your vacuum cleaner and hose attachments.
It’s also important to make sure that your HVAC air vents aren’t blocked by solid obstructions. Someone may have pushed a sofa, bookshelf, or other items in front of a vent. If you have standard, central air conditioning that isn’t zoned, it’s also important to make sure that all of your HVAC air vents are open. Closed air vents cause air pressure to build within the ducting. This can lead to compressor problems. It also places tremendous stress on the entire cooling system.
3. Neglected HVAC Air Ducts
You have probably heard conflicting opinions about the importance of air duct cleaning. Some people say that air ducts never need to be cleaned at all, and others recommend having these structures professionally cleaned about once every three to five years. It is important to note that if your HVAC air ducts are coated in grime, the interior of your ductwork probably looks much the same. After all, dirt, dust, and other debris on your air vents had to travel through the ductwork to get there.
If you’re having compressor problems or if your compressor is showing signs of distress, have a professional clean out your HVAC air ducts. Staying on top of routine air conditioner maintenance like this will make your home’s cooling system last longer and perform much better.
4. Too Much Refrigerant in Your Air Conditioner
Compressors pressurize AC refrigerant to pump it through the cooling system. When there’s too much refrigerant in these systems, compressors can fail. This is an issue that’s usually caused by HVAC contractors who don’t understand the needs of specific AC brands or models. When refrigerant levels are too high, pressure levels in your compressor are too high as well.
5. There’s Too Little Coolant
Too little coolant is another problem that can be caused by HVAC technicians who aren’t trained to work on the type of system that you own. However, insufficient coolant can also be the result of refrigerant leaks. The best way to catch and correct refrigerant leaks early on is by scheduling annual AC maintenance. If you have your air conditioner inspected and tuned up before the start of the cooling season, loose connections can be tightened and worn components can be swapped out before any major compressor issues arise.
6. Dirty Coils
Dirt and other debris can collect on sensitive interior components if your air conditioner is never professionally maintained. Although changing air filters and cleaning dirty air vents can help keep your AC system in good working order, these efforts are not enough on their own for preventing serious compressor problems.
If the condenser coil in your air conditioner is coated in grime, mineral scale, or dust, your air conditioner will struggle to expel heat. This will eventually lead to overheating, and, in time, compressor failure.
7. Displaced Evaporator Motor
If the evaporator motor in your air conditioner is displaced, compressor problems are bound to occur. A displaced evaporator motor will move the compressor’s lubricant out of position. Absent adequate lubricant, the compressor can overheat and wear down quickly. You’ll notice significant losses in overall efficiency, and if you don’t catch and correct the problem early on, you could be stuck with major repair or replacement costs.
8. Insufficient Lubrication
A displaced evaporator motor isn’t the only thing that can cause your air conditioner to have insufficient lubricant. All machines that have moving parts need to be lubricated. If they are not, excess friction and excess heat will wear them down. During annual maintenance service, lubricant levels in your compressor are checked and replenished as needed. Lubricant can be lost due to a variety of reasons, including loose or faulty connections, evaporator leaks, and worn components.
9. Clogged Suction Lines
Clogged suction lines in the AC unit can result in compressor failure. Over time, these components can also dry out and develop cracks and other openings. Any damages that affect the functionality of your air conditioner’s suction lines will make your compressor strain to move adequate amounts of refrigerant throughout the cooling system. It’s also important to note that inexperienced HVAC contractors can make the mistake of cutting these lines too short or installing suction lines that are too long. These errors can also make it harder for the compressor to do its job.
10. Overheated Compressor
Overheating can occur at the compressor even though everything else is working as it should and airflow is unimpeded. This is a common problem when outside AC units are installed in direct sunlight or don’t have adequate ventilation. A licensed HVAC contractor can help you find and implement the best solution based on the air conditioner model you own, the layout of your yard, and the availability of secondary sources of shade.
At Dring Air Conditioning & Heating, our team can fix these and many other compressor-related problems. We’ve been serving residents of Carrollton, Texas and the surrounding areas since 1953. We offer air conditioner and heating repair, maintenance, and installation services. Our team also installs air ducts and provides indoor air quality solutions. Give us a call today to set up an appointment.