7 Common Causes of AC Compressor Failure: ALP Heating Guide

Air Conditioners


Air conditioners are essential appliances that provide comfort in homes and offices by maintaining a suitable temperature. A well-functioning air conditioning system is essential for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment, especially during hot summer months. One of the most critical components of an air conditioning system is the compressor, which is responsible for pumping refrigerant through the system, compressing it, and enabling the transfer of heat from the air inside your home to the outside. When the compressor starts to fail, the entire air conditioning system becomes inefficient, leading to discomfort and frustration. In this guide, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and solutions for air conditioning compressor failure.

Role of the Compressor in an AC System

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. It plays a crucial role in the cooling process by compressing refrigerant gas and pumping it through the AC unit, allowing heat exchange to occur. The compressor’s proper functioning is vital for the AC system’s overall efficiency and performance.

What Causes AC Compressor Failure?

  1. Refrigerant leaks: Leaks in the refrigerant lines can lead to low refrigerant levels, causing the air conditioning compressor to work harder to maintain the desired temperature. This increased workload can result in overheating and eventually compressor failure.
  2. Electrical issues: Voltage fluctuations, power surges, or faulty wiring can cause electrical problems that can damage the compressor. Frequent voltage fluctuations can lead to the compressor’s overheating or burnout.
  3. Loss or Lack of Lubrication​: The compressor needs adequate oil lubrication to function smoothly. Insufficient oil can lead to increased friction and wear, causing the compressor to overheat and fail. Therefore, it’s necessary to check the lubricant levels at certain intervals.
  4. Clogged suction lines: If the suction lines are blocked or clogged, the compressor will struggle to draw in refrigerant, leading to increased pressure and temperature within the compressor, which can cause failure and even stop working.
  5. Dirty condenser coils: Dirty condenser coils can reduce the efficiency of heat transfer, forcing the compressor to work harder to cool down the refrigerant. This extra effort can lead to overheating and eventual failure.
  6. Low refrigerant charge: The refrigerant in your air conditioner leaks if the lines carrying it develop holes or splits. After some time, the level drops so low that the compressor must work harder to pump enough refrigerant to chill your room. And as a result of the pressure, it can cause permanent damage to the compressor.
  7. Excessive refrigerant: It can be fatal for the compressor if someone unqualified works on your air conditioner and unintentionally adds too much refrigerant or even the wrong kind.

5 Symptoms of AC Compressor Failure

You would want to identify any issue that could result in the compressor failure of your air conditioner as soon as you can because repairing the compressor or buying a new compressor is quite expensive. These are the warning signs that your compressor is likely to fail.

  1. Reduced cooling:  Does your home seem hot even though you have the air conditioning on? If the compressor fails, the refrigerant won’t be compressed and circulated, leading to warm air flowing from the vents instead of the expected cool air.  If the compressor is not effectively compressing the refrigerant and pumping it through the system, the AC will struggle to remove heat from the air, resulting in reduced cooling efficiency.
  2. Unusual noises: Damaged compressors can produce loud and unusual noises such as grinding, hissing, or rattling sounds.
  3. Circuit breaker tripping: A failing compressor can cause an overload in the electrical system, leading to the circuit breaker tripping frequently.
  4. Warm Air from Vents: If the air coming from your vents is not cool, it could be a sign that the compressor is not adequately transferring heat from the air inside your home.
  5. High electricity bills: Your home’s cooling system will consume more power and operate more frequently if it has to work harder, which will significantly raise your electricity costs. To find out if your HVAC system is acting up and has to be fixed, you should immediately call an HVAC professional.

How Do I Fix an AC Compressor Failure?

Getting your air conditioner serviced is the key to prevent the compressor issue. If the AC unit’s compressor malfunctions earlier than intended, the problem is typically internal and can be avoided with careful maintenance.

The following methods will help you avoid Air conditioner’s compressor failure:

  1. Regular maintenance: Schedule routine air conditioning maintenance to ensure that all components, including the compressor, are in good working condition. Regular maintenance can help detect potential issues early and prevent compressor failure.
  2. Repair refrigerant leaks: If you suspect a refrigerant leak, call a professional HVAC technician to inspect and repair the leak, ensuring that your AC system operates efficiently.
  3. Address electrical problems: If you experience frequent voltage fluctuations, install a voltage stabilizer to protect your AC unit. Additionally, have an electrician check your electrical failures or issues.
  4. Clean condenser coils: Regularly cleaning the condenser coils can help maintain the AC system’s efficiency and prevent the compressor from working too hard. Otherwise extra dirt build up on the condenser coil will not let the compressor work smoothly.
  5. Contamination: Dirt, debris, and moisture inside the compressor can cause it to wear down and fail. It is essential to keep the AC system clean and well-maintained to prevent contamination.
  6. Maintain Your AC Thoroughly: Given that the compressor is the engine of your air conditioner, maintaining proper lubrication is essential for maintaining the compressor’s health. Lubrication can assist in preventing AC compressor failure before it should.
  7. Keep the Suction Lines Clean: When suction lines get blocked owing to excessive dirt, the pressure and temperature rise, leading to overheating. The compressor has to work harder or an overheated compressor can fail rather quickly.

If you suspect a compressor failure in your air conditioner, it is essential to contact a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and address the issue. Attempting to fix the problem yourself can be dangerous and may lead to further damage to your Air conditioner’s compressor.

ALP Heating: Your Trusted AC Repair Service Provider

At ALP Heating, we understand the importance of a well-functioning air conditioner and the inconvenience caused by compressor failure. Our team of skilled and experienced technicians is well-equipped to diagnose and resolve the problems leading to the failure of your AC compressor. We prioritize customer satisfaction and ensure prompt and efficient service.

If you need assistance with your air conditioning system repair or suspect a compressor failure, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 647-972-8714 or email us at [email protected]. Our team is always ready to help you keep your home comfortable and your AC system running smoothly.

You might also like

an image of an air conditioner condenser unit that is overheating, with visible signs of wear and tear. the image highlights the importance of regular maintenance and repair to prevent overheating and extend the life of the air conditioner.

Overheating Condenser Units: A Comprehensive Guide by ALP Heating

Air conditioners are essential for maintaining a comfortable living environment, especially during the hot summer months. However, like any other appliance, they can experience issues that may affect their performance. ... Read more
a technician in a uniform uses specialized tools to diagnose and repair duct leaks in an air conditioning system, ensuring efficient operation and reducing energy costs. the image shows the importance of proper maintenance and repair of air conditioning systems.

Addressing and Tackling Duct Leaks

Introduction Air conditioning systems are essential for maintaining comfort levels in homes and offices, especially during the hot summer months. However, even the most reliable air conditioning system may experience ... Read more
a close-up image of a malfunctioning circuit board in an air conditioning system. the circuit board is the main focus of the image, with visible components and a blue and white color scheme. the air conditioning system is slightly blurred in the background, emphasizing the importance of the circuit board. the image conveys the idea of a malfunctioning circuit board causing inconsistent cooling, unresponsive thermostats, frequent system shut-offs, and strange noises or odors.

Understanding and Addressing Malfunctioning Circuit Boards in AC

Air conditioners have become a staple in our modern lives, providing us with comfort during the sweltering summer months. However, these cooling systems can sometimes face issues that hinder their ... Read more