Keeping Your AC System Cleaner

Common Issues with Air Conditioning Compressor Operation

by Yolanda White

One of the biggest problems that many central air conditioning owners experience is the failure of the AC compressor itself. There are many reasons for an air conditioning compressor to fail, and understanding some of what can cause it will help you to potentially prevent problems, or at least know how to address them when they occur. Here are some of the most common reasons why an air conditioning compressor may stop working and the basics you need to know about those problems.

Condenser Coil Issues

The condenser coils play a key role in temperature transfer inside your air conditioning compressor. In order for your air conditioning compressor to effectively draw heat away from the unit, the coils must be kept clean. When they are dirty and cannot draw the heat out, it can cause the motor and the other internal components to overheat. This ultimately leads to complete system destruction. Cleaning the coils periodically can help to prevent this.

Refrigerant Flow Issues

The refrigerant that flows through the air conditioning system is pumped from the compressor through a series of lines that run throughout your air conditioner. When one of those lines gets clogged, it creates a pressure buildup that will ultimately cause your air conditioning compressor to fail.

You can avoid this type of problem by having the air conditioner serviced at least once a year. The technician will flush the lines if the pressure in the system doesn't test adequately. This helps reduce the risk of this type of problem.

Improper Refrigerant Level

The level of refrigerant in your air conditioner needs to be adequately balanced. If it isn't, it can damage the compressor. Too much refrigerant causes excess pressure, which can cause the system to overheat and fail. Too little refrigerant can cause the air conditioner to work harder and for a longer period each time it runs. This ultimately leads to fatigue on the compressor and eventual burnout.

Poor Lubrication

Air conditioning compressors rely on lubrication to keep the compressor motor running smoothly and efficiently. Without the right lubrication, the components can bind up, create friction, and generate heat. All of these things can ultimately cause your air conditioner to overheat, seize, and completely fail.

Internal lubrication is a necessary part of every routine maintenance appointment. Your air conditioning repair technician will check all of the lubricated parts to be sure that there is sufficient lubrication. Any that need additional lubricant will be treated at that time.

Power Supply Problems

Inconsistent electrical current can cause serious problems with your air conditioning unit. It can cause the system to short out, ultimately leading to electrical failure. Electrical supply issues can happen for many different reasons. For some, it can be the result of power supply assembly issues. If the power supply itself is failing, that can lead to trouble.

If the electrical current flowing into your house is fluctuating, that can also lead to problems. Sometimes, these power issues happen because of an overload on the circuit and too much demand in one segment of your home.

Finally, another common cause of electrical supply issues is damage to the electrical wiring either inside or outside of the compressor. Whether caused by weather issues or pests chewing on the wiring, this is one of the most important issues to address. 

For more help with your air conditioning compressor and its issues, reach out to an AC repair service. They can schedule an inspection and maintenance appointment to ensure that your system is functioning at its best. In addition, they can advise you about which situations require a complete replacement versus a simple repair.