If your air conditioning system isn’t blowing cold air, a faulty compressor could be to blame. The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning system. It’s responsible for squeezing and compressing refrigerant as it travels from the evaporator coil to the condenser coil, thus changing the refrigerant from a gas state to a liquid state. Below are five common ways that compressors can fail.
#1) Lack of Refrigerant
Lack of refrigerant is a common cause of compressor failure. Compressors are designed to operate with a specific amount of refrigerant. If the refrigerant level in your air conditioning systems drops below this amount, the compressor will be exposed to greater mechanical wear and tear.
#2) Too Much Refrigerant
In addition to low refrigerant, too much refrigerant can lead to compressor failure. Slugging is a phenomenon in which the compressor’s piston cylinders become flooded with refrigerant. With too much refrigerant, it will fill these cylinders where it can damage the compressor. Your air conditioning system still needs refrigerant, but too little or too much refrigerant can damage the compressor.
#3) Dirty Coils
Another way your air conditioner system’s compressor fail is from dirty coils. With their rigid and patterned texture, coils often accumulate debris. Neglecting to clean your air conditioning system’s coils will place an additional strain on the compressor. If the condenser coil is dirty, for instance, it won’t be able to effectively release heat from the refrigerant. In turn, the compressor may overheat and succumb to heat-related damage.
#4) Oil Leak
Your air conditioning system’s compressor can fail if it has an oil leak. Compressors contain more than just refrigerant; they contain oil as well. Oil is used to lubricate the inner parts of the compressor so that they can move more smoothly. With an oil leak, the compressor won’t have the necessary lubrication to minimize friction. As a result, the compressor will wear down more quickly, or it may fail altogether.
#5) Obstructed Suction Line
Finally, an obstructed suction line is an underlying cause in many compressor failures. Most air conditioning systems have a single suction line. Consisting of a copper pipe, it connects the evaporator coil to the compressor. Refrigerant will flow through the suction line before reaching the compressor. If the suction line is obstructed, the compressor won’t receive the refrigerant. This can cause the compressor to overheat and sustain critical damage that renders it inoperable.