The compressor is one of the most important parts of a central air conditioning system. Not to be confused with the condenser, the compressor is designed to pressurize refrigerant. The temperature of the refrigerant will increase in response to its pressure. By pressurizing the refrigerant, the compressor will make it hotter. The super-hot gaseous refrigerant will then release more heat at the condenser coil, resulting in greater cooling performance.
Compressors can fail, however. Most compressors have an average lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. If they fail, they may experience a shorter lifespan. Short to ground, for instance, is a common cause of compressor failure. Many homeowners have been forced to replace their compressors prematurely due to short to ground.
What Is Short to Ground?
Short to ground is an electrical phenomenon in which the electricity in a circuit is being redirected to the ground. A short is any unintentional connection between two electrical nodes in a circuit. Short to ground means the electricity is being redirected to the ground.
Compressor Short to Ground Explained
What does it mean when a compressor suffers from short to ground exactly? Compressors feature coppers wires known as windings. When running your air conditioning system, electricity will flow through these windings.
The windings are part of the compressor’s circuit. If they are damaged, the compressor may experience a short to ground. Rather than being contained within the compressor, electricity will be redirected to the ground.
Common Causes of Short-to-Ground Compressor
Excessive vibrations can cause compressors to experience a short to ground. If your air conditioning system’s compressor vibrates aggressively, the windings may gradually degrade to the point where it causes a short to ground. Some vibrations are normal when running the compressor. Excessive vibrations, though, are problematic because they increase wear and tear on the compressor and its windings.
Insufficient oil can cause a short to ground. Most compressors come with oil in them. The oil is designed to lubricate the compressor’s inner parts while reducing friction and heat in the process. If your air conditioning system’s compressor has an oil leak, it may experience a short to ground.
Even lightning strikes can cause a short to ground. The power surge from a lightning strike may damage the compressor, resulting in a short to ground. If you believe your air conditioning system’s compressor is experiencing a short to ground, you should get it inspected as soon as possible to prevent further damage.