What Makes an AC Compressor Stop Working?
There are a number of reasons why your AC compressor can stop working. Oftentimes, the cause of an AC compressor failure is due to preventable problems.
Thankfully, you don’t have to go without a working air conditioner in West Volusia County, Florida, for long! The following tips from Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning can help you fix your AC compressor today or prevent future damage from occurring.
Has your air conditioner stopped working? If you think your AC compressor is broken or you need answers about air conditioner repair for your home in West Volusia County, call us today at 386-337-3502 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
How Does an Air Conditioning Compressor Work?
An air conditioning compressor works in two ways: It squeezes the molecules of the refrigerant together and works as a pump to circulate the refrigerant through the system. As the refrigerant enters the evaporator inside your house, it absorbs the heat from inside your home and turns into a gas. This gas is squeezed and heated further by the compressor, turning it into a hot liquid that is then cooled by the condenser coil outdoors.
As the refrigerant goes back to the evaporator to repeat the cycle, pressure is reduced at the expansion valve, allowing the refrigerant to absorb heat easier and turn into a gas. Any leaks or damage to the compressor can cripple this process.
Why Did My AC Compressor Stop Working?
If you find your compressor or heat pump is not working, the first thing to do is check the power supply. The unit could have simply become unplugged, or there may be a more serious problem at hand.
For homeowners who feel handy, this is a good time to take a look at your AC compressor or to schedule AC repair services for a more comprehensive assessment. You will want to have the unit examined to look for signs of a blown fuse, a tripped circuit breaker, a broken thermostat, or dirty air filters. Dirty or clogged filters commonly make AC compressors stop working.
When it comes to operating your cooling system properly, be realistic with the temperature setting on your thermostat. When it’s 110 degrees outside, don’t set your thermostat at 65. It just isn’t designed for that. Also, keep in mind that heat pumps do not perform as well on very cold days. They work by moving warm air from one place to another. When the mercury drops below about 30, there isn’t much heat for these systems to work with.
Top Reasons Your AC Compressor Stopped Working
Not every AC repair problem is a costly one to fix. Knowing what problem is troubling your AC compressor will help you determine the cost of repairs and how to prevent similar problems from occurring in the future.
Some of the most common reasons AC compressors stop working include:
- Dirty condenser coils
- Blocked suction lines
- Low refrigerant charge
- Incorrect suction line size
- Too much refrigerant
- Electrical problems
- Contaminants in the system
- Insufficient oil lubricant
Before AC compressors stop working altogether, they often display warning signs, like:
- Blowing warm air
- Frequently tripping the circuit breaker
- Shaking when the system is started
- Making strange noises
Regular air conditioner maintenance is the key to catching and fixing the problems that raise these red flags and to preventing future AC compressor failures!
How Do I Know if My AC Compressor Problem Is Serious?
It can sometimes be difficult to decide when to call professional HVAC technicians for an AC repair versus when to attempt a DIY fix. If you experience any of these problems, however, it’s best to contact experts for a professional diagnosis:
- Frequent on and off cycling – This is often referred to as a “hard start” and can be caused by an electrical problem within the compressor.
- Reduced cooling – If your home or office doesn’t seem as cool as it usually does, your AC compressor may have stopped working properly due to suction issues. This should be addressed by a professional.
- Overheating – Overheating can certainly make your AC compressor stop working due to faulty wiring or motor issues. Anytime your AC compressor stops working and you notice ice or extreme heat, call an expert.
There are a variety of basic and complicated reasons that air conditioning compressors stop working. These are just a few. In general, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and have a professional from Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning check out the unit to ensure a proper diagnosis and repair.
Troubleshooting AC Compressor Problems
Has your air conditioner or the AC compressor stopped running? While most of the time, a qualified HVAC contractor will be needed for in-depth troubleshooting, maintenance, and repairs, there are a few simple things you can check for before calling in a technician:
- Check for tripped breakers. Find the breaker for the air conditioner in your service panel. If it looks tripped, turn it all the way off, then back on. This can often reset the control board and get your system running if the problem is minor.
- Test the thermostat. Make sure the thermostat is set correctly and has fresh batteries. Inadvertent changes to the settings could stop the air conditioner from running.
- Listen for buzzing. When the system is trying to start, go outside to the condenser unit. If the AC compressor starts buzzing and the system does not turn on, the start capacitor may need to be replaced. That will need to be done by a professional, as it stores high, potentially hazardous voltages.
- Listen for clicking. As the AC compressor engages, you should hear a noticeable click. If no click is heard, or you hear a repeated clicking, and the compressor fails to start, the start relay may be bad. Have it replaced by an HVAC technician.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance for Your AC Compressor
Jacob Heating & Air Conditioning provides air conditioning maintenance and repair services throughout the areas of Astor, DeLand, DeLeon Springs, DeBary, Deltona, Lake Helen, Orange City, and Pierson, Florida. If you have any type of AC problem on your hands, you can count on our trusted HVAC company to resolve the issue with fast, reliable service.