Your air conditioner compressor is an indispensable part of your AC system. The refrigerant in your air conditioner pulls in the heat from the warm air inside of your home. That warmed air goes through a pipe into the air conditioner’s compressor, which is a motorized vapor pump operated by pistons.

The pistons pressurize the vapor entering your compressor. This squashes the gaseous molecules together and raises their temperature. The hot pressurized gas leaves the compressor and enters the condenser coil. There, it turns back into a liquid and gives up its heat. The compressor itself looks like a cylinder with two pipes attached at the top.

Air conditioning systems are complex, and their parts are subject to breakdowns. This is especially true if the AC isn’t maintained properly. In fact, some of the problems listed below could be avoided by having regular, professional maintenance performed on your AC unit. Although some problems with an AC are easy and inexpensive to fix, problems with the compressor are neither. Indeed, the failure of the compressor should be considered an emergency.

Electrical Failure

An electrical failure of the compressor is not something that happens at the circuit box. It’s more than just a plug accidentally pulled out. In this case, it means damage to the electrical components in the compressor itself due to acid buildup. Power surges can also “fry” the components in the air conditioning unit. It’s difficult for a layperson to detect acid build-up in a compressor. However, the air conditioning professionals at Markool Heating & Cooling can easily do so.

Overheating Compressors

Damage can occur when a compressor overheats. Since compressors are found outdoors, the problem might simply be too much sunlight and not enough insulation around the unit causing it to overheat. If the area is overgrown, overheating could be due to a lack of ventilation. Other potential causes of overheating include too much voltage delivered to the motor, low refrigerant and filthy coils. Having the coils cleaned regularly can help prevent extra stress on the compressor. Other blockages may cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail.

Another cause of a compressor overheating involves the suction lines. You can run into problems if these lines are too long or too short. Wrong-sized suction lines are the fault of a badly trained technician. The technicians at Markool Heating & Cooling can see if the lines are the wrong size and if so, replace them.

Problems With Refrigerant

Some people believe that refrigerant levels simply go down over time, but they should not do so in a closed system. Low refrigerant levels are the result of leaks, which is a serious problem all by itself. If the pressure is off, air can cause damage by entering the refrigerant lines and displacing the coolant. When it comes to the compressor, low levels of refrigerant decrease the pressure and cause stress to the motor.

Suction lines can degrade over time and develop holes and cracks that compromise the flow of refrigerants. This also causes the compressor to work harder than it should. One reason to suspect that your AC’s suction lines have been damaged is that it isn’t cooling your home the way it used to.

Dirt and Debris

Another thing that can cause problems with your compressor is clogging. Debris, dust, moisture and dirt can get trapped inside the outdoor unit. This can damage the compressor’s discharge valve and cause a buildup of carbonized oil and eventual leakage.

Lack of Lubrication

Compressors can also fail if they are not properly lubricated. Without proper lubrication, the compressor works harder and the components that engage each other start to break down. The lack of lubrication can be caused by more than just failing to apply lubricant in the first place. Leakage of other components in the AC system can also
be a culprit.

One more lubrication problem can happen if the evaporator motor becomes knocked out of its proper place. This can cause the refrigerant to backflow into the compressor. This in turn displaces the oil in the compressor, which can impair the lubrication of the system.

Call Us For Compressor Assessment

Summers can get hot in Frederick, Maryland, and a compressor that fails needs to be repaired or replaced immediately. Our Markool Heating & Cooling professionals are skilled in the repair and maintenance of all kinds of air conditioning systems as well as heating and commercial HVAC systems. If you’re experiencing things like strange noises, lack of airflow, leaking refrigerant or unexpectedly high energy bills, give us a call right away.

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