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How to Know When It’s Time to Replace, Not Repair, My A/C Compressor

March 21, 2023

The compressor is one of the most important parts of any home air conditioning system, and like all equipment, it suffers wear and tear over time. Knowing how to tell if an A/C compressor has passed its prime can help you spot the warning signs of this occurrence and allows you to take the proper steps to get yours replaced in a timely manner.

What Is an A/C Compressor and What Does It Do for an Air Conditioner?

The compressor is what drives an air conditioner to cool the air. It exerts pressure on the coolant and then pumps it into a condenser that turns the gas into a cool liquid. A fan then blows the warm air (intake) over the condenser with the cool liquid inside – lowering the air’s temperature, so that cold air exits the air vents.

Warning Signs That Your Compressor Needs Replacement:

No Cold Air From A/C

When the condenser doesn’t work properly, less cool air may enter your home. If the condenser fails completely, you may even end up with no cold air being circulated. In some cases, the air might even feel warm due to the A/C compressor’s warm running temperature.

When you experience a reduction or lack of cold air, you may want to double-check that there isn’t anything obstructing the vent flow. Also, you may consider changing the air filter in your system. If these fixes don’t resolve the problem, you may need an A/C compressor replacement.

A/C Unit is Making a Loud Noise

As the A/C compressor begins to fail, you may hear odd noises coming from your system. Electrical problems in the compressor can produce a clicking or ticking noise. Rattling sounds may indicate that the compressor has begun to vibrate. An A/C compressor which is squealing or clanking may indicate that the mounts have failed, and the compressor has come loose. You may need to bring in an experienced A/C repair technician to inspect the compressor as well as the rest of the system to find the exact reason that your A/C unit is making a loud noise.

Tripped Circuit Breakers

When compressors begin to wear out, electrical problems are common. The compressor may begin to draw too much electricity upon starting due to overheating. If this happens, the extra strain on your electrical system can trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

Should you notice that your air conditioner isn’t running at all, you may want to begin troubleshooting by checking the fuse box or circuit box. If you find that this is the issue, replace the fuse or reset the breaker, then observe the system once again. A one-time trip may not indicate a major issue, but if the issue reoccurs, you may require an A/C condenser replacement.

Moisture Problems

Dampness can be an indication that your A/C compressor needs replacement. Refrigerant leaks around the unit may mean that the compressor is allowing coolant to escape. This could also indicate a blockage in or around the compressor that is causing a backup. Finding condensation on the unit or increased humidity in your home, are potential signs of a needing an A/C compressor replacement.
Keep in mind that A/C unit refrigerant is a hazardous liquid. To avoid injury, don’t attempt to locate or repair blockages in an A/C compressor on your own.

Inability to Start

If an A/C compressor fails completely, your air conditioning system won’t be able to draw power. As a result, it won’t start, even if you turn down the thermostat. If this occurs, first you may want to check the fuse or circuit box as described above. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you may likely need to have the compressor replaced.

How Much Does an A/C Air Compressor Cost?

How much A/C compressor replacement costs will vary. Some factors that affect A/C compressor replacement cost include the size of the compressor, the type of air conditioner you have, if other parts need replacing and the amount of time it will take to complete the replacement.

An experienced A/C repair technician can help you compare the cost of a new AC unit versus the cost of replacing the compressor. If your system is old or outdated, it may make sense to purchase a new air conditioner system that is more energy efficient and less likely to require age-related repairs in the near future.

As experts in air conditioning repair, EDS Air Conditioning is here to help you weigh your options. If you’ve noticed any of the signs that your A/C compressor is in need of replacement as mentioned above, call us to inquire about scheduling a service appointment.




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