How come the AC is blowing out warm air?
What’s with all the funny noises?
Why did the electricity bills spike all of a sudden?
If you’re asking these questions, you might just have a bad compressor. Compressors are the heart of the AC unit, usually located in that big metal box outside your home. If you’ve got a compressor problem your AC isn’t going to be able to keep you cool and some problems can even be harmful to you and your family’s health if there’s any refrigerant leakage. Compressors should last between 10 to 15 years, but sometimes Texas summers can take their toll, especially if they’re not serviced regularly.
We’re going to look at some of the signs of a bad compressor and what you can do about it.
But before we go any further, here’s one of the most helpful tips we can offer. If your AC is starting to act up or it’s not working as well as it used to, get it checked much sooner than later. AC issues tend to get worse over time and one problem can often lead to other problems. The longer you wait, the more the repairs or replacements could end up costing you.
What a compressor does
The compressor is the muscle behind the AC unit. Its main job is to pressurize the refrigerant that runs through your system. That refrigerant cycles from gas to liquid then back to gas in a loop, and that’s how your home stays cool. The compressor cycles on to turn the refrigerant into a gas. The gas goes through the condenser, which turns the gas into a cool liquid. That cool liquid goes through the evaporator coils which turn it into a cool gas.
This process repeats as often as necessary (which is very often in the Texas summer), releasing hot air outside and circulating cool air throughout your house. You don’t really need to understand the science behind your AC, we just think it’s pretty cool (sorry, we can’t help ourselves). And this shows you how vital your compressor is to the AC unit as a whole.
Signs of a struggling compressor
Be on the lookout for these signs that your compressor might be in need of some professional help:
- Strange noises coming from the outdoor unit (growls, screeches, clunks, rattling, all are no good)
- Leaks (puddles or leaks are never good, but refrigerant is toxic)
- You’re getting only warm air throughout your house
- Warm or cool air is blowing from the AC unit (it should be releasing hot air outside)
- Too many circuit breaker trips
- Lack of airflow
- Short cycling (when the AC shuts off before the house is cool)
- Compressor won’t turn on
- Higher electricity bills
Before you call in an expert, you can do a few things yourself.
First, turn the thermostat as low as it will go, then listen for those strange noises. Also note if the AC unit is running or if the fan is running but the compressor is not. Any of these signs can point to a compressor issue or other problems with your AC.
Next, check your circuit breaker to see if it’s tripped. Turn it off, then back on and see if this fixes the problem. Additionally, check to see if you have too many appliances running at once. If the circuit keeps tripping, call a professional.
Additional steps you should try are to check your filter to see if it’s dirty. If so, switch it out. You can also clear your AC unit of any debris or overgrowth.
If you’re AC isn’t working as well as it used to or if you’re spotting any of the signs above, you should definitely call us. As we mentioned earlier, compressor issues need to be addressed early on before they turn into big repairs and potentially damage other components in your system.
May your compressor live long and prosper!
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