The summer heat in Phoenix can be merciless. Can you think of a home appliance more useful or more complex than your air conditioning system? Air conditioners are comprised of multiple components located both inside and outside your home. One of the most important components, often referred to as the “heart” of your AC system, is the compressor, which is found on the side of your house or up on the roof. Aptly named because it compresses refrigerant and pumps the gas under pressure as it cycles endlessly throughout your entire AC system. The refrigerant picks up heat from inside your home and magically transfers that heat outdoors, leaving you cool, calm and collected indoors.
Compressors are manufactured to strict standards and built strong to last a long time. Many of the problems that occur are preventable or fixable – if caught in time. Depending on the age of your compressor and the service history, you may have experienced some of these compressor issue early warning signs. It’s important to remember, as August and September approach, extreme heat will put your compressor and your entire AC system to the test. Here are some of the problems which can take your compressor down:
Many people think adding refrigerant once or twice a year is no big deal. However, AC refrigerant is encased in a closed system with pressurized lines, which requires an exact amount of gas to run properly. Too much or too little can cause issues with your compressor. Only trained service technicians with proper equipment can ascertain whether you have the correct amount of refrigerant in your system.
The good news is, compressor coils are a brilliant way to facilitate the transfer of heat from the inside of your house to the outside air. The bad news is, coils are an absolute magnet for dirt and grime. If your coils get clogged with dirt, it makes your compressor work harder to lower the temperature in your home. If left neglected, clogged coils can cause severe damage to your compressor. Regular service includes cleaning your coils and prevents the layer of grime that inhibits the cooling process.
Leaks and Pinholes in the Coils
One of the subtle ways your compressor loses refrigerant is through tiny pinholes barely noticeable to the naked eye. Corrosion can occur in the multiple bends and turns of the coils and cause leaks. Depending on the age of your air conditioner, rust may be creating tiny leaks allowing the refrigerant to escape.
Electrical Issues and How Wear and Tear Affects Your Compressor
Electrical issues cause more than 80 percent of all air conditioner repairs. It’s no surprise that proper wiring, clean power and accurate voltage are all crucial to the successful operation of your compressor. One compressor killer we’ve seen over the years is wiring problems due to extreme heat, the fact that compressors are located outside and plain old wear and tear. As wires age, they get old and brittle and can be the root cause of electrical issues. Power surges, which happen often during the monsoon season, can cause electrical issues with your compressor.
Is It Better to Repair or Replace a Compressor?
Replacing an AC compressor is one of the most expensive repairs a homeowner can undertake. Whenever possible, we prefer to repair. We only recommend replacement when it’s truly unavoidable. We recommend regular service checks in order to catch small problems before they become big ones. If you’ve been noticing performance issues with your air conditioner, why not give us a call and we’ll perform a mid-summer checkup.