Just like you count on your heating system to warm up your building in the winter, you rely on your air conditioner to keep it cool in the summer. Unfortunately, commercial AC units can encounter a wide range of problems. One of the most common issues discovered by HVAC technicians is a bad compressor. Without regular maintenance, AC compressors can stop working for a wide range of reasons, such as blocked suction lines, dirty condenser coils, too much refrigerant, low refrigerant charge, insufficient oil lubricant, and electrical problems among other things. Knowing the signs of a bad AC compressor is key to ensuring that the problem is diagnosed and resolved as quickly as possible.
What a Healthy AC Compressor Does
A commercial air conditioner contains many components that work together to bring in warm air and release cool air. While every element is important, some are more essential than others. The AC compressor is one such component that is critical to the performance of your AC unit. In a split air conditioning system, the compressor is located in the outdoor unit. The main job of the compressor is to circulate the refrigerant which aids in the heat exchange through the coils of the indoor and outdoor units.
Powered by a motor, the compressor works to compress the gaseous refrigerant. This increases the temperature of the refrigerant, turning it into a high-pressure gas. The refrigerant is then forced through a line that leads to the outside coil where the refrigerant releases heat and condenses into a liquid. The liquid refrigerant then travels to the indoor use where it evaporates into gas once again as it absorbs the heat inside the building. The refrigerant then travels back to the compressor where the cycle starts again.
What a Bad AC Compressor Does
When your AC compressor fails, you may notice a number of signs, such as:
1. Produces Rattling, Ticking or Clunking Noises
If your AC compressor is being noisy, it may be because it is failing. Hearing sounds coming from your AC unit that you have never heard before is a surefire sign that something is amiss. You may hear a variety of sounds depending on what the problem is, such as rattling, ticking or clunking. Noises may occur when the electrical component of the system fails or when something has become lodged in the fan motor. While hearing sounds coming from your AC unit does not necessarily mean you need a new compressor, you will want to get it looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
2. Restricts Airflow or Blows Warm Air
Another common sign of a bad AC compressor is when your system is not blowing a sufficient amount of air or it is blowing warm air. When a compressor begins to fail, it is not able to pump refrigerant through the system. This will result in air that feels warm rather than cool. However, there are other causes of reduced airflow or warm air; a clogged air filter can cause reduced airflow and a refrigerant leak can cause your AC to blow warm air.
3. Creates Problems Turning on the Unit
If you have problems turning on your commercial AC unit, the compressor could be to blame. When this happens, you may notice that your indoor unit is working fine and the fan is running as normal; however, when you check the condensing unit it may not be running at all.
If you discover that the condenser may be the problem, try to turn down the thermostat to get the compressor to come back on. If it does not, call in a HVAC technician to diagnose the problem. A failed compressor can sometimes be repaired but may also need to be replaced.
4. Increases Electric Bills
While your electric bills can increase for a wide range of reasons, unexpected rises in electrical bills should be addressed. You may discover that your AC unit is to blame for your high energy bills. When your compressor is no long compressing gas, it decreases the overall efficiency of your air conditioning unit. This means that your AC unit will have to work harder to cool your building, meaning more energy is used. Keep an eye on your electric bill and if you notice that it is increasing, have a HVAC technician inspect your commercial AC system.
Get Your AC Unit Inspected Today
It can be frustrating to discover that your AC unit is no longer working as efficiently as it once did. Fortunately, repairs are available if you find out that your AC compressor is bad. To learn more about signs of a bad AC compressor or to schedule an appointment with a HVAC technician, contact Cool Works Co.