What’s an air conditioning compressor? Basically, it’s like the heart of the system. It’s responsible for pressurizing the refrigerant that runs through the system. It also allows that refrigerant to absorb the heat from the air in your home and release it back outside. It also cools air, which it then returns into your home. It’s like a living, breathing system that constantly breathes in air, churns & cools it down, and releases hot air back outside.
The compressor is a hard-working component of your air conditioning system. It’s also expensive to replace. Here’s how to relieve some of the burden on your A/C compressor and cut cooling costs in the process. When the heat and hot, humid weather strikes here in Arkansas – your HVAC system has to work extra hard to keep up & keep you cool.
- Keep it clean: Dirty filters interfere with airflow and make the unit work harder. You should check the filter every month during the cooling season, and change or clean it as needed.
- Keep it maintained: A professional technician should service A/C units once every two to three years. During this service call, the technician can clean the coils, recharge the refrigerant, and check all components for correct functioning. The better your A/C is functioning as a whole, the easier the workload will be on the compressor.
Smart home tips
- Use fans: As air wafts over the skin, it whisks away surface heat and aids in the evaporation of perspiration. This makes you feel cooler. By using a ceiling fan or other fans to keep air moving, you can set your thermostat a few degrees higher, and your A/C will not have to run as much.
- Close doors and windows: Ignore all temptation to keep windows or doors open for fresh air when your A/C is running. An air conditioner is designed to keep temperatures at the thermostat’s setting. Anytime you allow warm air into the home, the A/C must work harder.
- Watch indoor humidity levels: Humidity makes us feel warmer. Dishwashers and washing machines add humidity to the home. Use these only on cool early mornings or late at night. Use bathroom exhaust fans when showering.
- Cool wisely: Save energy and give the compressor a break during away-from-home times by setting the thermostat several degrees higher. In addition, on days when fans and ventilation are enough to keep you cool, give your A/C time off.
- No cool air in your home. If your compressor isn’t working, it can hinder or slow down the entire cooling process. One symptom of this is that your home will not get any cool air. This isn’t always a for sure sign that your compressor is having issues, but it can be a valid symptom.
- Your A/C Unit has “Hard” starts. A “hard start” is a term used to describe an outdoor condenser unit that shakes and shutters somewhat violently every time it kicks on. A failing a/c compressor is one of the most common reasons this happens.
- Tripped circuit breaker. If your compressor is working too hard or malfunctioning, it will often cause your circuit breaker to trip, which cuts power to your air conditioner. If this seems to be happening frequently, there’s a good chance a compressor failure is at fault.
- Strange noises from condenser unit. The outdoor unit of your HVAC system will always make some noise when it’s in use. However, if it begins to operate more loudly than normal, or if it’s making noises that you haven’t experienced or heard before, you might be experiencing a compressor failure.
For more information about maintaining an A/C compressor and other issues related to air conditioners and home comfort, please contact us at Paschal Air, Plumbing, & Electric. We have been serving northwest Arkansas for more than 50 years.