Summer might be “over” in theory next week, but in our area that doesn’t mean much. Our air conditioners are still working hard, and have been for months now.
If your air conditioner is aging, ill-maintained, or has pending repair needs, then you should be especially aware of what can go wrong this time of year–the end of summer is the most likely time for an air conditioner to breakdown. And a common AC repair call we get is in regards to a failed compressor. If this happens to you, what should you do?
Replace Your Air Conditioner
Now, we’re not automatically saying this is what you should do. You may not need to! But the fact of the matter is, the compressor is the most expensive component of your air conditioner, and when it goes out it spells serious trouble for your system. So, we encourage you to look at your system as a whole, and at least consider that you may in fact benefit from an air conditioning replacement here.
More about Compressor Failure
Compressors are tasked with compressing the refrigerant in your air conditioner. Problems with this component can lead to a variety of symptoms–some worse than others. This can mean loud noises, a loss of cooling, or a complete air conditioner breakdown.
Let’s say you already know the compressor is the culprit behind your AC trouble, what next?
Check the Manufacturer Warranty
If your compressor’s warranty is still current, then you don’t have to pay for the actual compressor–only the labor needed to haul away the old one and install a new one. If this is the case, then it is worth replacing just the compressor, instead of the whole air conditioner.
However, it’s not very likely that your compressor will break down while it’s still under warranty. After all, most warranties last about 10 years, and that is the average lifespan of an AC system anyway. So if you don’t have that warranty coverage, it’s time to consider an AC upgrade.
Of course, you’ll want to factor your budget into this decision. At the end of the day, however, replacing the whole system rather than a single indoor or outdoor unit will be best. Mismatched systems will lead to system inefficiencies that may leave you paying more to cool your home, and potentially replace the system anyway in a year or two.
“Do I Have a Bad Compressor?”
Let’s say you’ve come across this blog post and you’re not entirely sure the compressor is to blame for whatever your air conditioning troubles are. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- A hissing sound, which indicates a refrigerant leak. Your compressor needs a set amount of refrigerant running through it to function.
- A loud humming sound from the outside unit, indicating the compressor is working too hard to do its job.
- The system “hard-starting” when it turns on, which could be a failing start capacitor. It’s best to have this checked in case it is actually the compressor, though!
Whether you’ve been told by an HVAC pro that your compressor is in trouble or you suspect it yourself based off of symptoms, the best thing you can do for your air conditioner is call for an immediate inspection.