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6 Signs of a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner (AC) Compressor

6 Signs of a Malfunctioning Air Conditioner (AC) Compressor

What’s an Air Conditioner Compressor?

An air conditioner compressor removes the heat from inside your home and transfers it to the outdoors using a cooling agent called refrigerant. When heated, the refrigerant exists in a gaseous state. When chilled, it travels as a liquid. The refrigerant is only able to change forms like this from the compressor pressure within your AC.

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The compressor pumps liquid refrigerant through the AC system so that when air blows over it, the air grows even colder before heading into your home. The compressor in your AC does this repeatedly until your home temperature reaches a low enough thermostat setting.

Signs of a Failing Air Conditioner Compressor

Your air conditioner is the reason you’re not sitting in a pool of sweat right now. It keeps the air in your house cool and flowing for maximum freshness. So once the air conditioner compressor pump starts malfunctioning, we understand why you might get a little worried. Keep a lookout for these issues, so you know when to contact a licensed technician.

Weird Sounds

Although your air conditioning system may not be silent, it shouldn’t be making loud sounds either. If you hear this or notice the system is slow to turn on and off, seek help from a Snell professional. Your air conditioner could suffer from a failing compressor or other worn-out internal parts.


The air conditioner compressor is what pressurizes the cooling agent called refrigerant. This is so it can turn any warm air flowing through the system cold. Because the compressor is prone to wear and tear over time, it can eventually leak liquid refrigerant. Call us when this occurs so we can keep you and your unit safe.

High Electric Bills

Have you noticed an increase in your electric bill even though you could’ve sworn you haven’t been using it any more than usual? This increased energy consumption could link to a malfunctioning air conditioner compressor. That’s because, when it’s not working properly, it’s no longer working efficiently either, so it runs longer.

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Weak Airflow

In the early stages of an air conditioner compressor failure, you may not even notice that your air is coming in weak. After a while, though, you should feel a big difference in the level of airflow. It’ll probably be around the time when it’s no longer able to cool a room effectively. Don’t wait until the heat’s unbearable—reach out to Snell early on.

Warm Air

Warm air coming out of your air conditioning unit can also signify a compressor issue. More specifically, that you’re low on refrigerant. Book an appointment with a Snell technician so we can tell you whether you just need a refill or if you have a leak on your hands. If the latter is the case, we’ll patch it up in no time.

Condenser Unit is Too Hot

A broken air conditioner compressor can spell big problems for your condenser unit and cause it to overheat. Having this metal box installed with at least three feet of space on every side should help it stay well-ventilated. You wouldn’t want it to already work overtime if your compressor were ever to break down.

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4 Options You Have When a Compressor Fails

A lot like your heart pumps blood throughout your body for you to live, the air conditioner compressor circulates refrigerant in the AC system, so your home stays crisp. This means that when the compressor’s down, it’s important to use one of these solutions straight away, so your household stays comfortable.

Buy a New Compressor

If the compressor in an AC is broken, you don’t always have to buy a brand new system. If the air conditioner compressor is still under warranty—which usually lasts around 10 years—then a replacement could be covered.

Buy a New Condenser

If you’re past your warranty and you can’t afford a brand-new air conditioner, you could compromise by purchasing only a new condenser unit. This would mean a new compressor, fan, and condenser coils.

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Buy a New Air Conditioner

A brand-new air conditioner can feel like a big investment if it’s just for one faulty part, but it’ll be worth it. You won’t have to worry about mismatched indoor and outdoor parts, and you’ll receive a new warranty.

Buy a New HVAC System

If you’ve begun to feel like your air conditioner, air handler, and furnace are too old to cut it any longer: replace the whole HVAC system. This cost less than constant repairs or staggered installations.


Air Conditioner

Air Conditioner Repair & Installation Services

Virginia summers can’t slow you down when you can escape to a refreshingly cool home. Make it happen with air conditioning repair and installation services from Snell Heating and Air Conditioning. In addition, our team offers other types of HVAC repair solutions such as furnace repair, air conditioning installation, and whole-house humidifier replacement. Our licensed, certified technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year for any kind of AC trouble—not just compressors. Book your air conditioning service appointment at (703) 543-9649 or go to our website now.