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What Causes AC Compressor Failure?

What Causes AC Compressor Failure? Common AC Issues

Summer is when Texans thrive. We love the outdoors, hard work and even harder play! But we love it most when we know we get to go home to a well ventilated and air-conditioned home. Many places in the country and the world have a very different relationship with indoor ventilation and air conditioning than we do here in Texas. Here, it is very much a necessity, and our day becomes suddenly very different when something goes wrong with our HVAC system. But, what causes AC Compressor Failure? How can you prevent it altogether? Dr. Rescue brings the knowledge. 

The HVAC system is a delicate one. Many things can go wrong with different symptoms, signs, and causes. One in particular that really gets people is having an AC compressor failure. The compressor is the pin in the whole system. Without it, nothing goes right. It’s like a pin that hold everything together. We hope to inform you about what you can be on the lookout for and what you can do to prevent a compressor failure or deal with one when it happens. As with everything, we always believe prevention is your best defense. By knowing more, you can prevent more. Compressor problems will often be your most expensive, so we want to prioritize this for you.

The compressor is often referred to as the heart of your HVAC system. It compresses the refrigerant so that it can flow and cool the air by removing heat. Without it, cooling simply doesn’t happen. Remember when your parents told you to take good care of your toys and they’ll last longer? Well, that is still true! A well-maintained AC system will last you a long time. Otherwise, wear and tear take hold much faster, and your compressor will take the brunt of it. Proper maintenance can help a compressor last for anywhere from 10 to 15 years and it’s in your best interest to aim for that.


Here are somethings that can cause the compressor to fail:

  1. Dirty coils: The condenser coils expel waste heat from the compressor. The issue is that these coils buildup dirt and debris over time. Dust, grime, mineral deposits, etc. can buildup and block air flow, preventing them from expelling the excess heat. It’s like a clog that can put a lot of unwanted pressure on the compressor, straining, overheating, and eventually causing it to fail. Keep those coils clean!
  2. Freon leaks: We talk in another blog about the importance of refrigerant. Many people will have refrigerant added or replaced when they detect an issue but if the freon is low, that means there is a leak and adding more won’t solve the problem. In this case, you need to get the lines repaired or it will keep leaking. You want to do this soon because with low refrigerant levels, the compressor will start working harder and harder to get any freon left through the cycle. This can damage the compressor and lead to failure. Keep an eye out for hissing sounds, water leaks, ice formations, and weak air flow. If you see these, inspect or have the lines inspected for leaks.
  3. Electrical failure: There are many unrelated electrical problems that can affect or damage your HVAC system. Electrical problems can cause acid build up. Power surges can damage an air conditioner. Your compressor also needs sufficient power, or it can overheat and fail.

Those are some major things you can be on the look our for. Inspect for these issues regularly and ensure you’re scheduling regular inspections by professionals. Some other issues that can occur are blocked refrigerant lines and even bad repair and maintenance. Blocked lines can lead to overheating. And you never know when previous HVAC work might have been done incorrectly, either by inexperienced workers or a failed DIY situation. These systems are delicate which is why we always suggest leaving the job to trusted professionals. A common mistake is adding more freon when it isn’t needed. Either it needs repairs first or you end up with too much freon, which causes its own problems.

Some other signs to be on your radar include irregular noises and high electric bills. Any abnormal signs should warrant some inspection. If you hear banging or hissing, it could be your compressor! And any issues that is causes your compressor to work hard is also costing you more money. I you notice those bills are looking higher than they should, call that into your HVAC professionals. Energy usage tends to increase in summer, but you know your finances better than anyone, so if something seems off then it probably is.

Dr. Rescue is your provider for HVAC and plumbing solutions. Our AC services and crack team of professionals are exactly what you need when the compressor is on the fritz. We make everything easier so that everything is cooler!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Luke Smith

    It’s great that you pointed out how any abnormal signs should warrant an inspection. I’ve been hearing some bad-sounding noises from our AC lately and I suspect it might be due to a faulty compressor. We obviously cannot ignore this, so we should call an air conditioning compressor repair company immediately.

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