With the heat of August blanketing the country, now is pretty much the worst time for something to go wrong with your air conditioning unit. No matter how often you are able to sneak off to the town pool or vacation at the beach you are still going to want to escape into a well air conditioned home on a pretty regular basis. You’ll luck into a couple of mild days when you can get away with open windows and a ceiling fan, but if you live in one of the hotter parts of the country that’s pretty much out of the question for the next several months. That’s why you will have a real problem if you try to turn on your air conditioner and little to nothing happens. Or there’s that terrible noise that presages bad things to come. Oftentimes it’s the compressor that’s to blame. So here are some of the more common AC compressor problems and how to solve them.
First of all, check over everything simple that could easily be overlooked in the middle of a panic. Look around the side and make sure that the unit is plugged in, and that there is power coming to the outlet. Check all the settings on the front of the device, and double check the battery in the remote if that’s what you are using. Look over the ductwork, the filter and the blower fan to make sure that these aren’t at fault either. If you go through this whole checklist and still come up empty, chances are the issue is your compressor.
The most common compressor problem is diminishing cooling capacity. That’s when the air seems to be coming out cold, but in a weak stream. The problem is pressure inside each component. So check the compressor for suction that seems worse than normal and discharge pressure that seems reduced. You’re going to need to call an HVAC tech to handle the fix, but at least you’ll know what the culprit is.
Another common issue is cooling that doesn’t seem to really do much in the room. The unit seems to stay on for a really long time, yet the temperature in your house remains the same. In this case, the compressor could have loosened from its proper position or just be worn out. It’s a natural occurrence if your unit goes through heavy use. You can prevent this issue for longer by having gauge ports put into the compressor, but again you’ll need a service tech to come in and do the work.
If the air compressor is completely faulty you’ll likely have no air conditioning whatsoever. This happens when one of the wings inside the motor is somehow damaged. A short from a surge in the system could be the cause of the problem. You won’t be able to start the air conditioner, which is a clear sign the compressor is completely busted and needs to be replaced. If things aren’t this far gone the air conditioner might still start from time to time, but then stutters and shuts down before doing its job. You’ll hear your HVAC tech call this a hard start. The unit will no longer improve the indoor air quality, simply because it can’t remain active long enough to cool the room. It’s often a blown fuse, and if that’s the case you should be able to solve the problem on your own.