How to Tell if Your Home AC Compressor is Bad

The Summer heat in Carrollton can get unbearable. AC units can act up during the hottest times of the year, so it’s good to understand some basic troubleshooting. This is especially true when it comes to the most important elements of your system. 

No homeowner enjoys HVAC repairs but many fear ac compressor failure as the expensive “worst-case scenario.” The AC compressor is the most costly part to replace on the air conditioning unit, so it’s helpful to know if your home AC compressor needs attention. It’s a main reason why homeowners consider new AC installation.

What are some symptoms of a failing AC compressor?

Loud noises, hot air, airflow issues, uneven cooling, and electrical problems are all things you might run into when an AC compressor is on its last leg. 

There are four common warning signs to watch for when an AC compressor is going bad. Any one of these symptoms can become a serious and expensive AC compressor problem and require an emergency AC repair if not addressed. 

4 Common Warning Signs an AC Compressor is Bad

  1. Loud Noises – Your air conditioning system can start to vibrate when there is a compressor failure. The sounds made from these vibrations should be obvious to hear from inside your  Irving, Texas home. These noises go beyond normal on/off cycling, and will often get your attention. 

If your unit “bounces” around too much, it can end up causing even more damage. Many electrical problems inside an AC unit will result in a clunking or rattling sound that can sound pretty violent. 

Turn your AC unit off immediately if you hear loud noises.

  1. Difficult to Start – Another warning sign of a bad compressor is that it simply won’t start up. Of course, there could be other causes for why it won’t start. 

Anytime you have a problem starting your air conditioner, it’s common to think it’s the compressor going bad. This is often due to how expensive an AC compressor replacement can cost.

However, there are some other reasons why your AC unit might not be starting. Here are a couple of common ones that you can try to solve the issue yourself before assuming the compressor is bad. 

  • Find the circuit breaker in the circuit box labeled AC. Click it to the “off” position if you find that it tripped. The circuit breaker is only reset when you hear the click. Then you can reset the circuit breaker to the “on” position. 
  • Change your air filter.
How to Tell if Your Home AC Compressor is Bad

Didn’t work?

You may have a bad AC compressor if you don’t find any issues with the air filter or circuit breaker. It’s best to get the opinion of a professional AC repair technician in Carrollton, Texas before assuming that a compressor is a problem with your air conditioning unit. 

At Diamond Blue, we are committed to honest troubleshooting and straightforward advice. Whoever you call, make sure you are getting honest advice.

  1. Not Blowing Cold Air – The first sign of a bad compressor is typically warm air coming from the vents in your home. This is because the compressor’s main job is to turn the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. Levels are often checked during routine service, but if it’s been a while since you’ve had routine maintenance this is a good thing to check.

Again, it’s easy to assume that the compressor is the culprit because we all know that it’s the worst-case scenario. This could be the case, but also know there are other potential causes for this as well. There is no need to panic just yet.

In fact, there are a few things you can check yourself to eliminate a bad compressor as the culprit. See this article for more detailed information on why your AC unit is blowing warm air

If issues like low refrigerant or dirty air filters don’t resolve the issue, call a professional to run a full diagnostic test on your system.

  1. Breaker Keeps Tripping – A short in the AC compressor can cause this issue, but there are other causes as well. 

When a breaker constantly trips it can be due to using too many appliances at one time. Your air conditioning unit should be on a breaker by itself. (This will not be a concern if it is.)

There is a problem with your AC unit itself if it’s not functioning properly while at the same time the breaker keeps tripping.

A common reason for this is due to an electrical short in the AC compressor itself. It’s best to call the help of a professional air conditioning company to find out for sure, as this is not easily diagnosed or fixed by a homeowner.

As you can see, different problems often share similar symptoms. The quickest way to diagnose a bad compressor is to call a trustworthy technician to run some tests. 

Why Did My AC Compressor Go Bad?

After confirming that your home AC compressor is failing, you might be thinking, “Why did my AC compressor go bad?”

Many components inside the unit could cause clanking or banging noises when they go out. An AC compressor can short out if any wires get exposed to the weather. 

Another common problem that can cause an AC compressor to go wrong is the fact that it simply burns out over time. 

Here are some more detailed explanations for why an AC compressor goes bad.

Common Problems Causing an AC Compressor to Go Bad

With few exceptions, every AC compressor in Irving, Texas is located outside. The weather alone can cause problems to an AC compressor if you are not careful as a homeowner, but even when you are. 

The following list contains common problems that cause an AC compressor to go bad in Irving, Texas.

Faulty Components – Your AC unit is a packaged system. All the parts need to work together for the machine to work properly. Bad electrical components can cause the unit to stutter or vibrate during startup.  

If a bad tension pulley or loose belt isn’t taken care of on time, it can cause problems to the AC compressor down the road. It’s usually loud when the pulley or belt starts to go out.

Overheating –  When an air conditioning unit’s motor is overworked, it can cause the compressor to overheat. There is a reset button on most modern AC unit motors. If this button is popped out, it can only be reset after the engine has cooled down.

Burned Out – When wires are exposed to the elements, the protective coating can begin to wear off. If any bare copper touches the unit, it will result in a direct short. This can cause detrimental problems with your air conditioner’s compressor. 

Is There a Way To Test an AC Compressor in Irving, Texas?

Only a qualified professional air conditioning technician should be used to tell you if your AC compressor is burnt out completely and what your best options are.

Can I Run My AC With a Bad Compressor in Irving, Texas?

No. Do not run your air conditioning with a bad compressor. Call an HVAC professional to get the situation handled immediately. An air conditioning unit vibrates quite a bit, and this one problem will lead to more.  

Call in the professionals at Diamond Blue Air in Irving, Texas as soon as you think that you have any issues with your AC compressor. We’ll help you get to the bottom of the problem, and fix it right.

Final Thoughts on How to Tell if Your Home AC Compressor is Bad

Your home AC compressor is like the heart of your air conditioning unit. If you think your compressor is going bad, you should call a professional to check your unit immediately. Here are some things you can watch for.

As a homeowner, it’s cause for concern when you hear any strange noises in your air conditioning unit. You may have heard all the horror stories of costly AC compressor replacements, but there are times these symptoms lead us to another (smaller) problem altogether. 

This is why it’s best to entrust the troubleshooting and final analysis to an experienced and trustworthy HVAC company in Irving. Many things can cause an AC not to work properly, and thankfully, it’s not always a bad compressor. 

Additionally, our technicians can help you understand your the manufacturer’s warranty related to your AC compressor. There are times it may still be covered under the original warranty. We can guide you on the best options for system repair or replacement since we work with major carriers, and have experience navigating these issues.

Give us a call today to get to the heart of your AC compressor problem quickly and efficiently. 

FAQs on AC Compressor Going Bad and Needing Replacement

How do I know if my AC compressor is bad in my house? 

Almost every problem with an AC compressor we’ll make some sort of loud noise. Insufficient cooling and air pressure problems from your vents can also be due to a bad compressor. 

Why did my AC compressor go bad?

AC compressors will burn out over time. Exposed wiring or an overworking motor can cause a compressor to go bad faster. It’s important to check all the components on an AC unit and to make sure there is no blockage in the ventilation.

Is there a way to test an AC compressor?

Only a qualified professional air conditioning technician should be used to tell you if your AC compressor is burnt out completely and what your best options are.

Can I run my AC with a bad compressor?

An AC compressor is responsible for pumping refrigerant through the AC unit. Your air conditioning will not work without a good compressor. Running an AC unit with a bad compressor in Irving Texas can cause more problems for the unit.

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