Air Conditioning Compressor Failure

by Ron Walker

Your air conditioning  compressor is the heart of your AC unit. This is the large black cylinder located in your outdoor condensing unit. There are a few compressor saving devices that should be on all air conditioners – a low pressure freon switch, a high pressure freon switch, a compressor start kit. This seems like a lot, but without these controls, compressors could have a very short life. Unfortunately, most of the ‘builder model’ AC systems don’t have these controls.

Basically, these controls shut down your outdoor unit when they sense a high or low freon pressure situation.  Both of which can destroy your compressor.

Compressor Failure.

AC CompressorIf you have a bad compressor, it is EXTREMELY important to make sure your technician finds the cause of the failure.  If your system is operating properly, your compressor should never fail.  Your HVAC technician should inform you ahead of time that once the new compressor is installed, the cause of the compressor needs to be determined and corrected.  If this is not done, you will be replacing your compressor again.  It might be next week, next month, or next year.  Since the warranty on a replacement compressor is usually one year, this could be a very expensive and frustrating situation.

How much will it cost to replace a compressor depends on the size and make of your AC system.  Replacing a compressor is a very expensive repair.  It will be somewhere in the $800 – $1600 range.  Usually when a compressor need to be replaced, replacing your entire system should be considered.  Especially if you system is over 10 years old.

Preventing Compressor Failure.

There are so many things that can cause a compressor failure that it would be hard to mention them all. But, there are two things you can do. First, change your filter!  A dirty filter and/or AC coil, is probably the most common cause of compressor failures.  Second, have your AC system serviced and cleaned every year.  This annual maintenance visits can identify causes of future compressor failure.

If you’re having a problem like this, feel free to contact us for a free telephone consultation.

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