There’s no such thing as a “non-vital” part of your central air conditioning system. All parts need to work well for the system to operate effectively and efficiently. But if any part were to be awarded the title “The Most Important AC Component,” it would be the compressor. It’s the literal heart of the air conditioner because it is what causes the refrigerant to circulate through the system. The compressor changes the refrigerant to a high-pressure hot gas that allows for the heat exchange process to start. Without a working compressor, an air conditioning system will function as nothing more than a large fan blowing around room temperature air.
The compressor usually lasts for the full life of the AC. In fact, it’s often a dead compressor that signals the end of the air conditioner’s lifecycle (around 10 to 15 years). However, a compressor might fail early—and usually it’s not worth the cost to fix it.
Why Your AC’s Compressor Might Fail
Since we want you to have an air conditioner that lasts for as long as possible, we want you to be aware of where the compressor may go wrong. You may be able to restore the system with air conditioning repair in Staten Island, NY before a catastrophic compressor failure.
- Loss of refrigerant: This is the #1 way a compressor might die years before its time. The amount of refrigerant in an air conditioner is specially set to work with the compressor. If the AC loses refrigerant through leaks, the imbalance will eventually cause the compressor to overheat. If you notice a drop in cooling, iced-over coils, or a hissing sound from the AC, these are signs of refrigerant leaks. Shut off the system and call a technician.
- Too much refrigerant: Yes, too much refrigerant is as bad as too little. If an amateur attempts to repair your AC, they may put too much refrigerant into the system. This will lead to liquid refrigerant getting into the compressor—which should never happen. This will rapidly kill the compressor.
- Loss of motor lubricant: We also recommend our customers have annual spring air conditioning maintenance. One of the crucial jobs of maintenance is checking on the compressor and lubricating its motor. If the motor is allowed to run year after year without lubrication, the compressor can burn out.
- Dirty coils: The outdoor coils of an air conditioner can easily become caked with dirty, grass, and mulch. This prevents the coils from expelling the heat in the refrigerant coming straight from the compressor. This increases system pressure and may damage the compressor.
- Blocked suction line: The refrigerant lines can become blocked, and this raises pressure inside the system and may even cause refrigerant to backup into the compressor. If you notice your AC just isn’t keeping your house as cool as usual, it may be suction line blockage. Call for an HVAC technician.
Please only allow a licensed expert to handle any work on your AC. An amateur may end up putting the compressor in greater danger than before!
Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning has served Staten Island’s Heating and A/C needs since 1955. Schedule service to repair your AC.