How to Tell if AC Compressor is Bad: Your Ultimate 411 Guide

In this ultimate guide, we’ll show you how to tell if AC compressor is bad.

How to Tell if AC Compressor is Bad
Photo by Martin Vorel

AC compressors are like the heart of your air conditioning unit – they pump coolant through the system and keep your home comfortably cool. So when they’re on the fritz, you can bet you’re gonna feel it.

Warning Signs of a Bad AC Compressor

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of the issue, here are some quick signs to look for. Is your AC unit making odd noises or not cooling your space as it should? Or maybe the motor isn’t running properly? If yes, your AC compressor might be waving a red flag.

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Detailed Symptoms of a Bad AC Compressor

Alright, now that you’ve got a general idea, let’s delve deeper into these symptoms. This is where you get to play detective and spot the clues your AC unit is dropping.

Unusual Noise from the AC Unit

When it comes to an AC compressor, silence is golden. So, if you’re hearing clanking, buzzing, or rattling sounds, that’s not a good sign. These sounds can mean your compressor is struggling.

Causes of Unusual Noises

So, why does a faulty AC compressor start sounding like a rock band? It could be due to loose parts, motor issues, or even a buildup of pressure inside the compressor. These problems can create a cacophony that’s hard to ignore.

Ineffective Cooling

It’s simple: your AC’s job is to cool your space. If it’s not doing that, something’s off. A bad compressor can result in ineffective cooling, leaving you sweating and frustrated.

Troubleshooting Ineffective Cooling

But how can you tell if it’s the compressor or another part of the AC system causing the problem? You could start by checking other components like the thermostat or air filter. If those are working fine, your compressor might be the culprit.

Excessive Vibration When Starting

Feeling the earth move under your feet? While it might sound romantic in a song, in real life, it’s just your AC unit telling you something’s wrong. A malfunctioning compressor can cause excessive vibration when the AC unit starts up.

Understanding Excessive Vibration

This excessive vibration can be caused by a hard-starting compressor – a common symptom of a failing AC compressor. Think of it like trying to start a rusty old car; it shakes, it rattles, it rolls – but it’s not exactly the smooth experience you’re looking for.

Circuit Breaker Tripping

Is your circuit breaker throwing a tantrum and tripping more often than usual? It might not just be being dramatic. This could be another sign that your AC compressor is heading for a fall.

Causes of Circuit Breaker Tripping

A bad AC compressor can overload the circuit, causing the breaker to trip. It’s like when you try to juggle too many tasks at once – something’s bound to drop!

Leaking Refrigerant

Leaking refrigerant is like the AC’s version of a runny nose. It’s a clear sign that your compressor isn’t in the best shape.

Identifying Refrigerant Leaks

Spotting a refrigerant leak isn’t always easy. You might notice a pool of liquid around the unit, or you might see ice forming on the AC parts. Either way, it’s a telltale sign that something’s amiss.

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