Staying Up On Furnace Maintenance

Typical Causes Of AC Compressor Failure

The compressor is the heart of the system. The compressor draws in low-pressure, low-temperature refrigerant and compresses it to high-temperature, high-pressure. The compressor then pumps the hot compressed gas to the condenser coil, where the refrigerant damps its heat. 

As such, your AC's operations will suffer if the compressor fails. Below are some of the reasons the compressor might fail.

Low Refrigerant

The compressor will always strive to pump adequate refrigerant to keep the house cool. This design means the compressor will overwork if the refrigerant level is too low to cool the house. An overworking compressor can overheat and fail. The same thing will happen if something crashes or blocks the refrigerant lines.

Excess Refrigerant

Low refrigerant is bad, but too much refrigerant is also bad. With too much refrigerant in the system, the compressor gets clogged with the refrigerant it cannot handle. The excess refrigerant can also cool the compressor below its operating temperatures. Both issues can lead to compressor failure without fast intervention.

Dirty Coils

Dirt accumulation over the condenser coil can also affect the operations of the compressor. The condenser coil is where the heated refrigerant from the house gives up its heat. Debris over the coils acts as an insulation material that prevents heat exchange. The AC then has to run longer cycles to try to cool the house. The long cooling cycles can easily overwhelm the compressor motor and cause its failure.

Poor Lubrication

The compressor has a motor that compresses and pumps the refrigerant. The motor requires oil to lubricate its moving parts. The compressor oil also acts as a cooling mechanism by absorbing some of the heat the motor generates during operations.

Over time, the effectiveness of the oil reduces as it dries up and loses its viscosity. As a result, the motor overheats and experiences extreme friction that accelerates its wear and tear. Such a compressor can easily fail without prompt intervention.

Electrical Malfunction

An electrical motor is the main part of the compressor. Thus, an electrical malfunction can also cause the compressor to fail. For example, the windings of the electric motor have individual insulation to isolate them from each other. Insulation failure can lead to contact between the windings, a classic example of a short circuit that leads to motor failure.

Hopefully, your AC won't suffer a catastrophic compressor failure anytime soon. If you do notice signs of compressor problems or any other AC malfunction, consult a technician for diagnosis and fix before the problem worsens. 

For more information, reach out to an air conditioning repair service.