A crucial component of any air conditioning system is the ac compressor. Cool, low-pressure gas from the compressor is turned into a hot, high-pressure gas, which is then sent to the condenser. The condenser cools the gas into a liquid, which is then transferred to the evaporator. Even though it is only one of the three main parts of your air conditioning system, if the compressor breaks down, your entire air conditioner won’t be able to adequately create cool air.

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What Purpose Serves an AC Compressor?

The compressor is crucial and regarded as the system’s brain. It is in charge of condensing the refrigerant, a cooling material, to allow it to flow in the air conditioner and dissipate heat (or cold air in the case of reversible ACs). They can endure for ten to fifteen years if given the proper care.

However, neglecting to maintain your air conditioner will result in more wear and tear. Your AC compressor’s performance is more significantly impacted by dust, dirt, or refrigerant leakage. Therefore, if a compressor fails, you have an HVAC emergency! In some terrible circumstances, you won’t be able to fix it and will have to replace it.

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What Is the Lifespan of an AC Compressor?

The AC compressor should last 10 to 15 years whenever the air conditioning system is maintained correctly. As previously noted, the compressor works incredibly hard and has regular wear and tear, but when the air conditioning isn’t correctly maintained, it has to work much harder. As a result, there is a greater likelihood of wear and tear and eventual compressor failure.

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Issues Leading To AC Compressor Failure

AC Compressor

Failure of the AC compressor is frequently caused by an underlying problem that stresses the system. It’s crucial to know that for two reasons:

  1. By identifying and addressing the root problem, you can avoid AC compressor failure.
  2. The replacement compressor is likely to fail as well if you replace a failing compressor without addressing the root problem.

The following are the typical problems that lead to AC compressor failure:

Unclean Coils

The condenser coil becomes clogged with dirt, filth, and mineral scales, which prevents the air conditioner from removing enough heat from the system and forces it to operate nonstop to chill your space. The compressor may overheat and stop working due to the elevated pressure and temperature.

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Inaccessible Suction Paths

The first sign that your air conditioner’s refrigerant lines are clogged or damaged is that the device is not cooling. If the issue is not resolved, the elevated pressure and temperature will lead to overheating and AC compressor breakdown.

Low Charge Of Refrigerant

The air conditioner leaks refrigerant if the refrigerant lines in your system get holes or breaks. The compressor has to work harder to push enough refrigerant through the system to cool your area after a while because the level drops so low. The compressor may eventually malfunction due to the strain.

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Insufficient Suction Line Diameter

Be careful to hire a qualified AC technician to replace your refrigerant line if it causes leakage and must be replaced. Premature failure of the AC compressor can result from a line that is either too big or too tiny for your system.

Excessive Refrigerant

It can be fatal for the compressor if someone completely works on your air conditioner and unintentionally adds too much refrigerant or even the wrong kind.

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Electrification Issues

A buildup of acids due to an electrical failure might seriously harm the compressor and other components. Make sure the technician does a test to see if these acids are present if your compressor has failed. If he does locate them, an electrical burnout has likely damaged the entire system and is not worth repairing.

However, when a skilled technician inspects your system, he can discover and fix faulty wiring, fuses, and connectors before they bring your system to a halt and result in AC compressor failure.

Pollutant Levels In The System

An air conditioning system’s high heat and pressure, as well as the typical New York City housing settings (outdoors, on roofs, and in crawl spaces), can introduce any impurities that can harm an air conditioning system. Some of them are air, water, mud, trash, leaves, soot, acids, and even bird and insect droppings.

Read more: why central ac has smell?

Insufficient Oil Lubricant

Consider the oil lubricant in your air conditioner similar to the blood in your body to take the heart metaphor a step further. If there isn’t enough, the system can’t function correctly, which can lead to various issues, including AC compressor malfunction. An experienced AC technician will examine the oil pump’s condition and the lubricant levels in your system during routine maintenance to avoid this issue.

AC Compressor

How To Fix Problems With The AC Compressor

If compressors malfunction earlier than intended, the problem is typically inside that can be prevented with careful maintenance. The following methods will help you avoid AC compressor failure:

A Voltage Monitor Or Surge Protector Should Be Installed

You can install a voltage monitor or a surge protector to safeguard your device from unforeseen high-voltage, low-voltage, or power surges. In the event of damage or compressor failure, some surge protectors even offer a compressor warranty.

Read more: How AC works

De-Clutter The Area Around The Outside Unit

It is possible for leaves, dust, filth, and other pollutants to become lodged inside the outdoor unit, preventing it from operating properly. For the outside unit to continue functioning correctly, regular cleaning is essential.

Maintain the Suction Lines

Changes in temperature and pressure might affect how well your compressor usually functions due to an accumulation of filth in the suction lines, pressure, and temperature rise, which causes overheating. A compressor that has overheated can quickly stop working.

Read more: How much does duct cleaning cost

Call Only Licensed Professionals

Your air conditioner could experience fatal issues from an unqualified expert. As mentioned before, they may overfill the refrigerant, leading to compressor failure. Installing a short or lengthy suction line during suction line repairs might also affect the compressor’s pressure. HVAC professionals should always handle air conditioner repairs because they are a delicate issue.

Maintain Your AC Thoroughly

Given that the compressor is the engine of your air conditioner, maintaining proper lubrication is essential for maintaining the compressor’s health. Lubrication can assist in preventing compressor failure before it should.

Regular AC Coil Cleaning

To prevent the process of heat exchange from being hampered, AC coils must be cleaned frequently because they accumulate a lot of junk. The compressor must work harder to eliminate the heat when this occurs.


The lesson is to never overlook any warning indications now that you are aware of all the reasons why AC compressor failure occurs. The delay will worsen the situation rather than solve it. You might choose an HVAC annual maintenance contract if you cannot maintain your system on your own. By doing this, the underlying problems can be resolved before they get an opportunity to harm the compressor.