How Do I Know When My Air Conditioning Compressor Is Bad?
Date: April 27, 2017
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR IS BAD?
APR 27, 2017
AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR FAQS
COMMON REASONS WHY MY AIR CONDITIONER COMPRESSOR IS NOT WORKING
The good news is that the air conditioning compressor has a relatively long lifespan (10-12 years) and the causes of air conditioning compressor problems are typically preventable. Dirty coils are among the top reasons an air conditioning compressor might fail. Having clean coils is imperative for efficient operation of your air conditioning—even a small amount of dirt can have a dramatic effect. Over time, the extra strain of dirty coils results in an air conditioning compressor failing before its time. A knowledgeable homeowner will be able to tackle this chore themselves, but it is also a de facto part of any routine, professional air conditioning service.
Incorrect levels of refrigerant are another leading cause for issues with an air conditioning compressor. If the levels get too low, the compressor is forced to work even harder to pump enough of the refrigerant. Alternatively, disreputable HVAC technicians or well-meaning (but ill-informed) homeowners have a tendency to add too much or the wrong type of refrigerant, leading to a whole world of headaches and sometimes irreparable damage to the air conditioning compressor.
COMMON SIGNS OF AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR PROBLEMS
If you suspect a problem with your air conditioning compressor, you might also try turning your thermostat down to a very low temperature, then while standing next to your air conditioning unit, listen for it to kick on. If you only hear a fan running (and not the air conditioning compressor), it is a sure sign of a problem. A professional HVAC technician will need to inspect the unit to pinpoint the exact source—hopefully, a more easily solved issue with your thermostat. Alternatively, noisiness and clanking from the air conditioning compressor motor can be another sign of trouble.
Less dramatically, a sudden increase in your utility bill that is not associated with increased use time or temperature increases can be an earlier sign of an air conditioning compressor beginning to have issues. Because the system is so expensive and so critical to your comfort (and potentially your safety in Phoenix in the summer), it is worth having a technician give your air conditioning a once over in this case, particularly if it has been too long since your last professional inspection.
A common sign of a burned out, internally shorted or grounded air conditioning compressor is that a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows when the motor begins to start running. Your service technician has special equipment to diagnose the exact problem.
HOW MUCH DOES AN AIR CONDITIONING COMPRESSOR COST?
The outright costs of replacing an air conditioning compressor can be eye opening—sometimes to the point of it making more sense to get a new air conditioner altogether. A qualified HVAC expert should be able to assess your specific situation (which will vary depending on which type of AC unit you have, the size of your home, etc.), but as a general rule of thumb, you will want to seriously consider replacing the entire AC unit if the cost of a necessary new air conditioning compressor is 50 percent or more of the cost for the replacement. Furthermore, it might be worth talking through with a professional whether you have a middle ground option for replacing the outside condensing unit rather that just the air conditioning compressor or the entire cooling system.
Keep in mind that the prevalence of home warranties means that there is a decent chance you will be off the hook, for the most part. Depending on your specific home warranty, it may be that you still have to pay for the labor costs associated with replacing the air conditioning compressor.
CALL A RELIABLE A/C MAINTENANCE PROFESSIONAL
If you are not fortunate enough to have a new air conditioning compressor covered by a home warranty, the costs of parts and labor to replace the component can run you upwards of $2,500 – $3,500—a sizeable enough chunk of change that you will want to have an opinion on the necessity of the repair and work being done by an expert that you can trust. Donley Service Center is a three time Angie’s List Award winner for Super Service. You can be sure we will give you qualified and expert advice as well as superior service that is unmatched in the Phoenix area.