Although many homeowners might not know much about their air conditioner’s compressor, it is a vital part that plays a very important role in the cooling process. If your compressor encounters problems, it makes it nearly impossible for your home to remain comfortable and your system can quickly break down. Today we’re going to talk about some of the most common air conditioner compressor problems and what you can do to ensure your compressor remains in great condition!

What is the compressor?

Before we talk about common compressor problems, we’d like to take a moment to talk about what the compressor does. When refrigerant inside your air conditioner’s evaporator coils absorbs heat from your home’s air, that refrigerant is sent to the compressor. Inside the compressor, the refrigerant is compressed, which heats the refrigerant and turns it into a high-pressure, hot gas. By increasing the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant, the air outside that’s blown over the condenser coils can easily absorb the heat, which is the last step in how your air conditioner removes heat from your home.

Common air conditioner compressor problems

  • Blown capacitors and hard starting. The compressor has a motor that is powered by start and runs capacitors. If either of these capacitors blows out, your compressor’s motor will not be able to operate properly. The most common symptom of a blown capacitor in your compressor is known as “hard starting,” which is when the compressor stutters aggressively when it is starting up. Hard starting can put your compressor through a lot of wear and tear and eventually cause it to break down.

  • Overheating. Some common air conditioner problems, such as low refrigerant levels or a malfunctioning outdoor fan, can cause the compressor to overheat. If this goes on for too long, the compressor can eventually break down.
  • Locked compressor. A locked or seized compressor is a compressor that stops operating altogether. This can happen after many years of wear and tear, especially if your system is not well-maintained. Sometimes the compressor can be restarted by a technician after locking up, while other times it will need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Pressure problems. Your compressor pulls in refrigerant from one end and pushes it out of the other end. If the pressure between this pulling and pushing is too high or low, your compressor will not operate as effectively and your air conditioner will not be able to cool your home properly.

How to ensure your compressor stays in great condition

The best way to ensure your compressor stays in great condition is to keep your air conditioner well-maintained. The two best ways to do this are to schedule annual tune-ups for your system so that we can inspect your compressor at least once per year, and to change your air filter regularly, which can prevent cascading issues that will eventually affect your compressor.

Has your compressor been condemned by another contractor? We’ll give a free second opinion!

The compressor is one of your air conditioner’s most important parts and replacing it is expensive. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a second opinion if your compressor has been condemned by another contractor. Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning offers free second opinions on condemned compressors, so you can have a risk-free inspection performed by a highly-reputable contractor before making any big decisions about repairing or replacing your system’s compressor!

If you have any questions about these common air conditioner compressor problems, or if you’d like a cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles, MO, air conditioning contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Weldon Spring, Wentzville and Winghaven, MO.

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