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Signs of an AC Compressor Going Bad

woman-and-fanThe compressor is the most critical part of your central air conditioning system. All parts of an AC are important for it to operate, but the reason we say the compressor is the most critical is because when it fails, not only does the AC lose its ability to cool, it also usually means the air conditioner must be replaced with a new condenser and indoor evaporator coil.

You can prevent serious damage to your AC because of a compressor that’s going bad if you know what to look for. A call for air conditioning repair in Plattsburgh, NY from our technicians may be able to save the compressor. If that isn’t possible, you’ll at least be able to arrange for a replacement on your schedule rather than being forced to when the air conditioning system breaks down.

Below are the major warnings to look for that you’ve got a bad compressor.

The outside condenser trips the circuit breaker

When we mention trouble from a tripped circuit breaker when the AC runs, it’s usually because the indoor blower fan was putting too much demand on the circuit. But if the outdoor condenser is responsible (this is why labeling the circuits is helpful), then you may be looking at an overheating compressor. No matter what, get technicians on the job fast—there are other possible problems, and just resetting the circuit breaker isn’t solving the them!

The condenser is vibrating and making strange sounds

When the air conditioner comes on, does the outside condenser cabinet seem to be shaking around and vibrating? Is there a grating mechanical sound coming from it? These are signs of a compressor that is hard starting, i.e. struggling to start up the cooling cycle because of some level of stress. Technicians can help the compressor by installing a hard-starting kit, or finding what is causing the problem.

You’re getting warm air from the vents

You hear the compressor turn on as normal when a cooling cycle starts, but then you don’t feel cool air coming out of the vents. This can mean the compressor isn’t working enough to change the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant so the AC can’t carry out heat exchange. However, loss of cooling can mean other problems as well, such as leaking refrigerant. Let experts do a diagnostic to learn what’s happening.

The compressor doesn’t come on

This is perhaps the most obvious sign: the fans of the AC are running, but you don’t hear the compressor turn on when there should be a demand for cooling. This might be from thermostat trouble (the thermostat isn’t registering the correct temperatures and therefore doesn’t know it needs to turn on the compressor). You can test the thermostat to see if the compressor will turn on, although you’ll still need to have the thermostat repaired if this is what’s wrong. If you think you have a compressor in trouble, stop using the AC entirely and call for our technicians.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call us for AC repair service when you need it.

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