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Bartels Heating & Cooling Blog

Signs an AC Compressor Is in Trouble

compressor-in-ac-unitIf we could choose one component of an air conditioning system as the most important, it would be the compressor. All parts of an air conditioner are vital for it to operate well, and malfunctions in any of them are a reason to call for air conditioning service in Middletown, OH from our professionals. We’d choose the compressor as the most important because it’s a) the heart of the AC and the reason it can change from a large fan system to a cooling system and b) expensive to replace; it’s usually more cost-effective to replace the entire AC system rather than just the compressor.

Compressor troubles are common reasons for AC failure, so we’ve provided a guide below to the signs you may have a compressor that needs our help. The sooner you move on a suspected problem, the more likely we can rescue the compressor from complete failure.

No cool air

The “no cool” problem from an AC is one that will cause concern for anyone. If the air conditioner is blowing around room-temperature air on a hot day, what good is it? There are many potential sources for an “no cool” air conditioner, and one of the main ones is the compressor has stopped. The compressor is responsible for putting the refrigerant under pressure and heating it up so it goes through the cycle of heat exchange that transports heat out of the house. No working compressor means no cooling, and the AC becomes merely a large central fan. If it’s a cooler day, you might think about delaying a call for help—but with the compressor in potential jeopardy, this isn’t a time to wait!

Grinding, clicking noise from the compressor

The compressor is in the outdoor condenser cabinet. If you notice loud sounds from the condenser, such as grinding or other weird noises, it could be the compressor dying. Clicking sounds as the AC tries to start can also alert you to a compressor that’s in danger.

The shaking condenser cabinet

The fan and compressor will cause a minor vibration to the cabinet of the condenser, but not something you’ll be able to tell unless you put your hand on the cabinet. If you can see the condenser vibrating, that’s a problem—especially if you notice it when the AC is starting up. That’s a sign of “hard-starting,” a compressor that’s struggling to get going.

Outdoor unit trips the circuit breaker

The AC comes on, and then a circuit breaker trips. If it’s the indoor unit circuit breaker, this often means the fan motor is overheating. If it’s the outdoor unit at fault, this is a major warning the compressor motor is overheating and in danger of burning out. Don’t simply reset the breaker and get back to business as usual: this is a big warning sign to call for repairs.

All the signs above can stem from other AC problems—but those are still problems! It’s never a bad idea to call for HVAC technicians when anything seems “off” with your central air conditioner.

“For a Comfortable Way of Life,” call on Bartels Heating & Cooling! We have 24-hour emergency service available.

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