AC Compressor Failure: 7 Common Causes

Compressor Disasters are Usually Preventable

AC compressor failure is one of the most expensive types of AC emergency you can have. Fortunately, as much as 80% of the time, failure of the compressor is preventable! The most reliable way to avoid this type of major AC repair is by scheduling regular AC preventative maintenance services. The following are the most common reasons for AC compressor failure.

1-Low Refrigerant Level

It is essential that refrigerant stay at the appropriate charge for an air conditioner, based on the size of the system. Refrigerant can leak due to loose connections, corrosion, and damage. Anytime refrigerant is at a lower charge, there are domino effects. Ice forms on the coil, less heat can be absorbed, the AC cools less efficiently, a hissing sound can be heard from the outdoor AC unit, and the compressor begins overworking. If repairs aren’t made quickly, the compressor will break and need to be replaced.

2-Blocked Suction Lines

If the refrigerant lines on your AC are damaged or blocked by dirt or dust, the HVAC system doesn’t get the required refrigerant. This leads to overheating and, before long, AC compressor failure.

3-Dirty Coils Cause AC Compressor Failure

Month after month, grime, dust, and mineral scales build up on the condenser coils of your air conditioning system. Heat can’t be expelled, once the buildup reaches a certain point. Dirty coils cause an AC to run continuously, in the effort to cool your home. The increase in pressure and temperature can lead to compressor failure due to overheating.

4-The Wrong Refrigerant

A common cause of compressor failure is that mistakes are made related to refrigerant. Sometimes a less-than-qualified individual adds too much refrigerant or uses the wrong type. Either mistake can lead to catastrophic AC compressor failure.

5-Not Enough Oil Lubricant

An AC compressor has moving parts, and it’s a type of pump. The components that move need oil for lubrication. Similar to when a car is low on lubricating oil, parts of your AC compressor will begin to grind against one another and will finally seize up or break. The oil level in your compressor is one of the things checked during regular AC maintenance by experienced experts.

6-Electrical Problems

Electrical faults are bad news for AC systems. The many types of damage electrical issues can cause include compressor failure due to acid buildup. If an AC technician discovers that an electrical problem caused AC compressor failure, it is often necessary, at that point, to replace the entire AC system. If electrical issues are discovered during routine maintenance, on the other hand, such problems can usually be fixed before disaster occurs.

7-Incorrect Suction Line Size

When a refrigerant suction line begins to leak and must be replaced, it’s important to hire an experienced professional to do the work. A common mistake made by do-it-yourself homeowners and individuals providing substandard HVAC services is that a replacement suction line is too small or too large for the AC system. This can lead to premature failure of the AC compressor.