If you hear unusual noises coming from your air conditioning system, liquid slugging could be to blame. The compressor is an important part of all modern air conditioning systems. Located in the condenser unit – you can find the condenser unit outside of your home – the compressor is designed to increase the pressure of the refrigerant.
Refrigerant will travel from the evaporator coil to the condenser unit. Upon reaching the compressor, the refrigerant will compress, thus changing from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure gas. Liquid slugging, however, may prevent this from occurring.
What Is Liquid Slugging?
Liquid slugging is a phenomenon in which liquid refrigerant enters the compressor. As it circulates throughout your air conditioning system, refrigerant will cycle between a liquid and gas state. It will be in a liquid state at the evaporator coil, and the refrigerant will change to a gas state upon exiting the evaporator coil and traveling to the condenser unit. Also known as compressor flooding, liquid slugging occurs when refrigerant in a liquid state enters the compressor.
How Liquid Slugging Can Affect Your AC System
It may sound relatively harmless, but liquid slugging is a serious problem. Compressors aren’t designed to handle fluids. Regardless of the specific type, all air conditioning system compressors are designed specifically to compress gas refrigerant. When exposed to liquid refrigerant, compressors may fail.
Your air conditioning system’s compressor may overheat from liquid slugging. It won’t be able to effectively remove heat from the liquid refrigerant. Therefore, the temperature of the compressor will increase.
Liquid slugging can completely destroy the compressor’s motor. The motor is the “heart” of a compressor. It provides the mechanical power needed to compress refrigerant. But compressor motors can fail when exposed to liquid refrigerant. Once the motor fails, your air conditioning system’s compressor will no longer work.
Your air conditioning system will perform poorly if it’s suffering from liquid slugging. The compressor is designed to compress the low-pressure refrigerant so that the condenser coil can remove the most heat from it. The compressor won’t be able to perform this task if there’s liquid refrigerant in it. Therefore, you may feel room temperature air coming out the vents.
Schedule an Appointment ASAP
If you believe your air conditioning system is suffering from liquid slugging, you should schedule an appointment with a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) professional as soon as possible. In the meantime, don’t run your air conditioning system. The HVAC professional can inspect the compressor and your system to determine what’s causing the liquid slugging.