Common A/C Compressor Problems and How to Avoid Them
An air conditioning compressor problem is not uncommon, especially when routine maintenance isn’t performed. Most likely, a compressor problem will require professional attention, but recognizing potential problems before the compressor fails can ward off costly repairs. Following are some compressor problems you’ll want to avoid.
- Cycling on and off – Frequent cycling can occur for a number of reasons, but an electrical problem in the compressor, such as a frayed wire, is a likely cause. Don’t ignore too-frequent cycling, as it puts stress on the compressor. The A/C can’t cool properly when this occurs.
- Motor won’t turn on – When the compressor motor won’t come on, it may be due to a faulty start capacitor. It likely needs replacement, so contact a trusted HVAC pro.
- The A/C isn’t cooling – When your A/C doesn’t cool the home effectively, the likely refrigerant needs recharging. Failure to cool may also occur when suction in the compressor is too high or discharge pressure is too low.
- Compressor fails to start – Again, a defective compressor motor may be the culprit. Sometimes insulation protecting the motor windings wears away and the motor burns out, which is a costly replacement. A tripped fuse may keep the motor from working when there’s a malfunction. Compressors can also lock up, in which case they have to be replaced — another expensive repair. At this point, it may be better to replace the system.
- Overheating – Overheating may be caused by faulty wiring or a problem with the motor.
- Diagnosis and repair – Compressor problems are often complex and require professional attention for diagnosis and repair. As always, when you experience problems, do a few tests before you call an A/C technician. Make sure the A/C is set to “auto” and “cool.” Test the breaker to ensure that the main power supply is on, and replace a fuse if need be. There’s also a compressor power switch, so check that as well.
At Sobieski Services, our goal is to help customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about home comfort issues – especially HVAC and plumbing issues – so that they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.
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