How to Service AC Compressor in 6 Easy Steps

This step-by-step guide will show you how to service AC compressor, including how to check, clean, and replace necessary parts.

How to Service AC Compressor
Photo by José Andrés Pacheco Cortes

Tools Needed to Service an AC Compressor

Servicing your AC compressor requires both basic and specialized tools.

Basic Tools

For starters, a good set of screwdrivers, a socket set, and a sturdy wrench will go a long way. You don’t need to break the bank but don’t skimp on quality either. It’s a balancing act!

Specialized Tools

Beyond the basics, you’ll need an AC gauge set and a multimeter. These will help you measure pressures and electrical currents, helping to detect any abnormalities in the compressor. Remember to handle these tools with care. Safety first, right?


Step-by-Step Guide on How to Service AC Compressor

AC compressor servicing involves a set of systematic steps, including safety measures, checking and cleaning the compressor, checking and replacing the compressor oil, testing the compressor post-servicing, and more. Following these steps will ensure a thorough and effective service.

Precautionary Measures

Before diving into the service process, ensure you’re prioritizing safety. Wear protective goggles, gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area. And please, for your safety, ensure the AC unit is switched off before you begin.

Checking the AC Compressor

Begin your service by visually examining the AC compressor. Look for any signs of physical damage, such as cracks, corrosion, or leaks.

Also, check for any oil stains as they can indicate a refrigerant leak. For this inspection, a flashlight can be useful to better illuminate the unit and identify any small irregularities that might be easily missed.

Cleaning the AC Compressor

A clean compressor is a happy compressor. Start by removing any visible debris. It’s a bit like cleaning out your garage. Then, gently clean the compressor coils with a soft brush and mild detergent. Treat it as gently as you’d clean your grandma’s favorite china!

Removing Debris

Over time, dust, leaves, and other debris can accumulate around your AC compressor. Such debris can reduce the system’s efficiency and potentially cause damage.

Use a brush or a vacuum cleaner to remove debris from the exterior of the compressor, paying special attention to any air intake areas or vented sections. Remember to be gentle to avoid damaging any parts.

Cleaning the Compressor Coils

The compressor’s coils play a critical role in the heat exchange process. Over time, these coils can become coated in dirt, which impedes their ability to release heat.

To clean the coils, use a coil cleaning solution available at most home improvement stores. Spray the cleaner onto the coils and let it sit for the time recommended by the manufacturer, then rinse it off with water. Be sure to protect any electrical components from moisture during this process.

Checking and Replacing the Compressor Oil

The compressor oil ensures the smooth operation of the AC compressor. To check the oil, you’ll need to locate the oil level sight glass on the compressor. If the oil appears dirty, it should be replaced.

To do so, you will first need to drain the existing oil. Then, using an oil specified by your AC manufacturer, refill the compressor to the indicated level. Be careful not to overfill as this can lead to inefficiency and potential damage.

Checking and Replacing the Compressor Belt

If your AC system uses a belt-driven compressor, it’s important to check the belt for any signs of wear or damage. Look for any cracks, fraying, or signs of slippage. If you notice any of these issues, the belt should be replaced.

To do so, first note the belt’s routing, remove the old belt, and then install the new one following the same path. Make sure the new belt is properly tensioned according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Testing the Compressor Post-Servicing

After servicing the AC compressor, it’s important to test its performance. Switch the AC unit back on and let it run for several minutes.

Pay attention to the noises it makes, its cooling efficiency, and the smoothness of its operations. Use your AC gauge set to check the system pressures against the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, monitor the system over the next few days for any changes.

If you notice anything unusual or if the compressor isn’t functioning as expected, consider consulting with a professional.


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Maintaining Your AC Compressor

Regular maintenance is vital for the longevity and efficient performance of your AC compressor. This includes regular inspection, timely servicing, and calling in professional help when needed.

Regular Inspection

As with most things in life, prevention is better than cure. Regular inspections can help identify potential problems before they become major issues. Consider it a form of self-care for your AC!

Scheduling Professional Servicing

While DIY servicing is great, sometimes your AC needs a little more TLC from a professional. If you’re noticing persistent issues even after servicing, it might be time to call in the pros. After all, everyone needs a helping hand sometimes, right?

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