8 Signs That Your Home’s AC Compressor Is Shot

Is your air conditioner having issues? If so, there is a chance that there might be something wrong with the compressor. It can be frustrating when your air conditioner is not working properly, particularly during the hottest months of the year.

There might be some situations where you need to get a new air conditioner. There might be other situations where you simply need to get your air conditioner repaired. You may have a difficult time figuring out what direction to take, so you need to figure out what is wrong with your air conditioner before you can make a decision.

So, what are a few of the top signs that there might be an issue with your home’s compressor? Take a look at some information below, and remember to reach out to a professional if you need help with the compressor for your air conditioner.

How Does The Compressor of an Air Conditioner Work?

An AC compressor unit
An AC compressor unit

First, it is important to take a closer look at how the compressor of an air conditioner works. Basically, an air conditioning system has two separate systems that work together:

  1. The first system involves air circulation. This is responsible for taking the air in the room, filtering out any impurities, and then passing it through specific evaporator coils. The evaporator coils are designed to cool dry air and vent it back into the room as cold air.
  2. The second system is the condenser unit. This usually sits outside the house. The refrigerant cycles through the condenser unit, using pressure differences to keep the evaporator cold. That way, you have a steady supply of cold air entering back into the room.

The condenser is also responsible for releasing the heat, venting it to the outside. If you were to create a figure using both systems, it would resemble the shape of a figure eight. If the condenser is not working properly, you may have a difficult time venting heat to the outside.

Now, you might be wondering how the compressor relates to all of this. The compressor sits in the condenser unit. This is the component that starts the process of cooling the refrigerant. The compressor was responsible for compressing the refrigerant, condensing it into a fluid. Then, the fluid is released due to pressure differences. When the refrigerant reaches the evaporator coils, it is cold, removing heat from the air in your home.

If the compressor is not working properly, the refrigerant is not going to work properly either. You might need to replace the compressor in your air conditioner. How do you know if this is necessary?

The Top Signs You Might Have a Bad Compressor

If your air conditioner is not working properly, you might wonder if you have a bad compressor. There are several signs that might indicate something might be wrong with the compressor of your air conditioner. A few of the most common signs include:

1. There Is No Hot Air Outside the Unit

A contractor repairing an AC unit
A contractor repairing an AC unit

One of the first signs that you might have an issue with your compressor is that there is no hot air being released outside of your air conditioner. If your compressor is working properly, the hot air should move from inside your home to the outside world.

Therefore, if your air conditioner is not working properly, you should take a look at the other side of your air conditioner. See if there is hot air being released outside of your AC unit. If you do not have any hot air being released, this could be a sign there is something wrong with your compressor.

This could also be a sign of a refrigerant leak, so you should take a look and see if there are any unusual substances leaking from your air conditioner. In this situation, you may need to call a professional to help you.

2. The Compressor Is Not Turning On

Of course, another sign that something might be wrong with your compressor is that it is not turning on at all. Use the manual to figure out where the compressor is located in the air conditioner. Then, see if the compressor is running at all.

Check the thermostat inside your house to make sure it is set to an appropriate temperature. Then, see if it is too warm in your house, which should cause the air conditioner to turn on.

If the air conditioner should be turning on, but the compressor is not activating, this is a sign that something is wrong with it. If your air conditioner has been in operation for 10 or more years, the compressor might be reaching the end of its life. As a result, you may need to replace it.

3. There Are Weird Noises Coming from the AC Unit

Another sign that something might be wrong with your compressor is that there are a lot of weird noises coming from your air conditioner. To see if this is the case, have someone turn on the air conditioner. Then, go outside and take a look at the unit. You should hear the compressor working properly.

If you hear a lot of noises inside the air conditioner, or if the unit starts to vibrate, this could be a sign that there are a lot of problems with your air conditioner. There might be an issue with the fan, there could be electrical problems, or there could be an issue with the compressor.

If you are hearing any of these noises, you need to turn the air conditioner off to prevent the problem from getting worse. Then, you need to call a professional to help you.

4. Warm Air Is Coming Out of the AC Unit

Someone installing an AC wall unit
Someone installing an AC wall unit

Next, you should take a look at the temperature of the air that is coming out of the vents in your house. This one is relatively easy to figure out. All you have to do is stick your hand in front of the vent and see what the temperature of the air is. If you feel warm air coming out of the vent when you should feel cold air, this could be a sign something is wrong with the compressor.

Remember that the job of the compressor is to compress the refrigerant, sending it into the house where it can cool down your air. If the air is still hot, this is a sign that the refrigerant is not behaving as it should, which could be indicative of a problem with the compressor.

It could also indicate there is an issue with the refrigerant, so you should take a look at the bottom of the air conditioner to see if the refrigerant is leaking. If you do not see a leak, then there could be a problem with the compressor.

5. The Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Breaker panel or consumer unit in a UK home
Breaker panel or consumer unit in a UK home

Another sign of a potential issue with your compressor is that the circuit breaker keeps tripping. The job of your circuit breaker is to prevent the appliances from being overloaded with electricity, which could fry them. If the circuit breaker keeps tripping, there is a sign that something is wrong with one of your appliances.

Take a look at the circuit breaker box and see what the culprit is. If the culprit is your air conditioner, there could be a problem with the compressor. If the compressor is soaking up too much power, it could be a sign that it is about to fail. You should never try to force the circuit breaker to stay open. You could expose your entire house to an unnecessary hazard.

Instead, you may need to call someone to take a look at the compressor. Or, you might need someone to take a look at the breaker box to see if it is operating appropriately.

6. You Spot Leaks Around the AC Unit

If you are spotting a bunch of leaks around the air conditioner, this could be a sign of several problems. For example, you may have a refrigerant leak that has to be addressed. Or, you may have a blocked tube around the compressor, which has to be solved.

If there is a blockage somewhere in the compressor, the other fluids in your air conditioner could start to back up. This could lead to a leak. Even though you might be tempted to solve this on your own, remember that a lot of these substances can be dangerous. Therefore, you should not work on them unless you have prior experience doing so.

7. Your Bills Keep Going Up

Dollar bills and coins
Dollar bills and coins

If you notice that your electricity bills keep going up, it could be a sign that it is simply getting hotter outside. Or, it could also be a sign that something is wrong with your air conditioner. If your electricity bills are going up, your air conditioner is probably working much harder than it should. This could be a sign that it is not cooling the rest of your house efficiently.

In this case, the culprit could be the compressor. If the compressor is not doing its job, your air conditioner will have to work overtime to achieve the same results. This is going to lead to higher utility bills, which need to be investigated. If you can repair your compressor, you may be able to get your utility bills back down.

8. The Airflow Is Too Low

You might also notice that the airflow coming out of the vents in your house is too low. If that is the case, you might have a potentially serious compressor problem.

Remember that your compressor is responsible for powering the refrigerant, which is responsible for pumping cold air back into your house. If there is not a lot of air coming out of the vents, it could be a sign that something is wrong with the compressor. You may want to take a closer look at the compressor to make sure it is operating appropriately.

These are just a few of the many reasons why your compressor might not be working properly. If you notice any of these signs, it is time to take a closer look at the compressor to see what you can do to fix the problem.

How To Deal with a Broken Compressor

If your compressor is not behaving as it should, there are a few tricks you may want to try. These include:

The Thermostat

A person with a iPhone 11 Pro Max using the Nest App near a wireless Nest Learning Thermostat
A person with a iPhone 11 Pro Max using the Nest App near a wireless Nest Learning Thermostat

The first thing you need to do is play with a thermostat to see if this is the reason why your compressor is not working appropriately. If your thermostat is not set to a cool enough temperature, it might not be low enough to activate the air conditioner.

Take a look at your thermostat and see if it has been set to a specific schedule. If it has, this might be the reason why it is not turning on when it should. Make sure the setting is correct on the thermostat, and see if this will get the air conditioner to turn on. This could help you solve your air conditioner problems.

The Breaker Box

Next, you might also want to take a look at the circuit breaker box. This could be the reason why the compressor is not behaving as it should. If you have too many appliances plugged into the same circuit, your circuit breaker is going to trip. You may want to consider rearranging some of these plugs to get the circuit breaker to stay open for your air conditioner.

Remember that there might also be a problem with the circuit breaker itself. In this case, you need to reach out to an electrician who can help you. Working with electricity can be dangerous, and you need to put safety at the top of your priority list.

Blockages

Furthermore, you should take a look at your air conditioner to see if there is a blockage somewhere. For example, you may want to take a look at the condensing coil to make sure there’s nothing in the way. You should also make sure your air conditioner unit is clean.

You might want to take a look at the fan to see if there is something in the way. Branches and leaves could impair the ability of your HVAC unit to work properly.

If you have done all of this and you still cannot get your compressor to work properly, then you may need to repair or replace it. In this situation, you should reach out to a professional who can help you. That way, you know the issue will be correctly addressed on the first attempt.