How to Tell If Home AC Compressor Is Bad

Bad AC Compressor Symptoms

Having a working air conditioner in Florida is as essential as having air to breathe and food to eat. It’s not a luxury, but a necessity, especially if you have babies or seniors in your home. So it’s understandable to freak out if it suddenly stops working properly.

If you want your HVAC system to work efficiently, all of its parts must function properly. Air conditioning compressors are no exception.

To better understand what keeps this crucial machine working, it’s good to know some AC basics.

What Is an Air Conditioner Compressor?

So, what function does your AC compressor serve?

AC compressors are responsible for heat-transfer functions that bring the cooled and conditioned air into the various rooms of your house. It’s the component that pumps refrigerant throughout the unit, allowing it to produce cool air. Air conditioners need refrigerant to cool down the warm air your AC system absorbs from your home. However, refrigerant is a gas and it needs help from machinery to cool down the air.

The process works the following way: Refrigerant needs to go through a cycle that turns it from gas to liquid to gas again. The cycle begins when the compressor turns the low-pressure refrigerant into a high-pressure, high-temperature gas. The gas then goes through the condenser, which then turns the refrigerant into a cool liquid. Then it enters the evaporator coils, which turn it into a cool gas. The process is repeated continuously, with all parts working together as a team to keep your home cool.

If you have a faulty compressor, the rest of the parts will be missing a crucial component, leaving you with no cold air.

5 Signs & Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor

Air conditioning compressor issues are often easy to notice. If there’s an issue with your compressor, you might experience one or more of these signs:

1. Your AC Is Making Growling, Screeching, or Clattering Noises

Electrical failures in the compressor will make your AC emit unusual clunking or rattling noises. Another telltale sign is if the condenser unit is vibrating. Don’t keep it running hoping the sounds will go away on their own. You could end up damaging your air conditioner unit even more.

2. You Have a Hard Time Getting Your AC to Start

Before you assume this is a compressor issue, check the breakers to make sure it hasn’t tripped. You can do this by following these steps:

Step 1. Locate the electrical service panel (It’s usually in the kitchen, hallway, garage or a closet).

Step 2. When you open it, each switch should be labeled as to which appliances/portions of the home it powers.

Step 3. The switch can be in three different positions: “on,” “off,” or somewhere in between. If it’s smack in the middle, turn it to “off” before switching it back to “on.”

Next, check the fuse box to make sure a blown fuse isn’t the issue. You can find this box on a wall outside your home, near the condenser unit. To find out if you need to replace a fuse, follow the steps below:

– Shut off the power supply to your air conditioner.

– Get the fuses out of the fuse box.

Use a multimeter to do a continuity test.

If it turns out you’ve blown a fuse, you can purchase a new one at a hardware store. If, on the other hand, both the breakers and the fuses are in perfect working order, then a faulty compressor may be to blame for your lack of cool air.

Related blog: 9 Reasons Why Your AC Won’t Turn On

3. Your AC Stops Blowing Cold Air

If your air filters and condensate lines are clean and you’re confident you don’t have a refrigerant leak, the compressor may be responsible for your lack of cold air.

Related blog: 5 Reasons Your AC Is Not Blowing Cold Air

4. Circuit Breaker Problems

The reason circuit breakers trip in the first place is to protect your home from a fire hazard. For example, if you’re running too many appliances at the same time (cooking in the oven, doing laundry, watching TV, running the AC, and someone is vacuuming), you’re overloading the system with high voltage.

Now, if your circuit breakers keep tripping over and over again and you’ve noticed other issues with your air conditioner, there is an obvious problem with your AC unit. Pay even closer attention if when you reach out to touch the switch, the breaker is hot. This is not normal. Call an HVAC professional for emergency services immediately.

5. Diminished Airflow

This is one of the early signs of a problem with the compressor: The AC is still working, but you’ve noticed less air is coming out your air vents. It’s not all in your mind. If you notice this is happening, call an HVAC professional for diagnostics. Another hint is if you hear your air conditioner running, but when you put your hands to the vent, you don’t feel any air coming out.

If you are experiencing any of the problems mentioned above, you should seek repair service from a trained and reliable technician as soon as possible. The longer you wait for professional attention, the worse your compressor troubles could become.

Need AC Repairs or Service in the Tampa Bay Area?
Call (727) 800-4148 to Schedule your Appointment

AC Compressor Problems and Their Causes

Many different factors can bring on issues with your air conditioner’s compressor. Blown fuses, for example, are a common culprit. Blown fuses can often occur due to breaker trips. Other factors that often lead to compressor problems include burnt wiring or faulty motor overload protectors. It isn’t uncommon for problems with compressors to denote significant levels of internal destruction.

DIY AC Compressor Troubleshooting

First, try to turn your home’s thermostat to the lowest temperature possible. This should make the outside unit kick on, which will allow you to judge whether the air conditioning is turning on at all. If the outside AC unit kicks on but sounds different from usual, this could signal a problem. You may be hearing the fan running, rather than both the fan and the AC compressor.

If neither are running, turn the circuit breaker off for about a minute. Turn it back on and make sure the outdoor service switch is on and running. If this doesn’t fix the problem, check both the AC compressor condensing coil and fan to make sure there are no obstructions or blockages preventing it proper operation.

How to Tell If Home AC Compressor Is Bad

Call Blair’s Air for AC Compressor Repair

If you’ve tried everything and have had it with odd sounds and no cold air, you don’t have to tolerate discomfort any longer. Blair’s Air Conditioning and Heating is a reputable HVAC company that caters to businesses and residences located in the Clearwater, Fla. region and surrounding Tampa Bay community. We’re a proud family-run company that has been providing area residents with cooling comfort and relief since 1974.

We specialize in all types of air conditioning repair services and AC installation. If you think there may be trouble with your AC compressor, contact our team of trained technicians at Blair’s Air Conditioning and Heating as soon as possible to make an appointment for reliable repair work. We have a staff of seasoned, knowledgeable, dedicated and driven cooling technicians who are ready and waiting to bring you immediate relief.

Blair’s Air Conditioning and Heating caters to homes and businesses in Tampa Bay. We’re a proud family-run company and have been providing area residents with cooling comfort and relief since 1974.

If you’re concerned there may be trouble with your AC compressor, contact our team of trained technicians.

Call (727) 800-4148 to schedule your appointment.