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Is Your AC’s Compressor Going Bad?

compressor-in-ac-unitThe compressor is the part of your home cooling system that allows it to actually cool. Without the compressor, the refrigerant in the AC wouldn’t be able to change between liquid and gas form, releasing and absorbing heat as it does so. It also wouldn’t be put under pressure so it would circulate. If you don’t have a working compressor in an AC, you don’t have an AC.

There are other vital parts of an air conditioning system, but a failed compressor is perhaps the most expensive to fix. So much so that people often find it more cost-effective to replace the air conditioner entirely rather than pay to replace only the compressor.

We’re offering a short guide to tell when you may have an air conditioning system compressor that’s in danger of failing. That way you can schedule the air conditioning repair in Raleigh, NC that might be able to rescue it before it burns out.

ONE: The compressor won’t turn on

The compressor makes a distinct sound whenever it activates to start the cooling cycle. If you’re outside near the condenser cabinet, you’ll hear a deeper hum start over the whir of the fans when the compressor runs. But if the air conditioner comes on and you don’t hear the compressor activate, something’s wrong. It might be a thermostat mis-adjustment or miscalibration—the thermostat isn’t sending the signal to the compressor to start the cooling cycle. But it could also be a damaged compressor. No matter what, you’ll want professionals on the job to see what needs to be repaired.

TWO: Warm air from the vents

In this case, you hear the compressor running, but you still aren’t receiving the cool air you expect from the room vents. This can mean the compressor isn’t working correctly (i.e. the motor is operating, but the compressor isn’t compressing the refrigerant). However, it could also indicate many different types of malfunctions, such as leaking refrigerant, ice along the coil, a clogged filter, or our old friend the malfunctioning thermostat. The experts can find out what’s wrong.

THREE: Grinding, clicking, and other noises from the condenser

The condenser should only make noises from the motors powering the fan and the compressor. When you start to hear an odd clicking noise when the AC comes on, or mechanical grinding and shrieking, it’s warning of a compressor that is hard-starting. This is when the compressor has trouble overcoming initial resistance when turning on. Hard-starting may cause the compressor to burn out, but HVAC technicians can install a special hard-start kit that will compensate for this and give the compressor a longer service life.

FOUR: The condenser cabinet is vibrating

This is another possible sign of a hard-starting compressor, or a compressor that’s overheating. If you can see the cabinet actually rattling, shut off the AC and call for technicians.

We can quickly diagnose what is wrong with your AC. We’ll rescue the compressor if we can, and we’ll arrange for a replacement if it turns out the part is shot.

Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves the Triangle Area of North Carolina. Turn to us when you need AC repair that gets the job done.

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