Skip navigation

South Metro Atlanta's Choice

South Metro Atlanta’s Choice

Family-Owned & Operated Since 2001


Premier Heating & Air Blog

How Your AC’s Compressor Could Fail


Dealing with a heat wave requires an air conditioner to do an immense amount of work. In our last post, we offered advice on how you can alleviate some of the strain on your home’s air conditioner so it can make it through the rest of the summer. Today, we’re going to focus on the essential component of your AC that you want to keep in the best shape: the compressor. This part of the AC works the hardest to keep the entire system running and cooling the house. If it fails, it’s often more cost-effective to replace the entire air conditioner rather than just the compressor.

How can a compressor end up failing? There are several ways, and we’ll look at the most common. If you fear you have a compressor at the edge of burning out, call us right away for air conditioning repair in Conyers, GA

Loss of lubrication

The compressor runs on a powerful motor. Just like the engine in a car, this motor uses oil as a lubricant to allow it to run with as little friction as possible. The oil also helps extract heat to prevent overheating, and forms a seal to stop refrigerant from leaking out. If the compressor doesn’t receive regular professional maintenance to ensure it has sufficient lubrication, it will eventually lead to enough strain that will cause the compressor to overheat and burn out. This is one of the critical reasons for having regular AC maintenance—it can mean the difference between a compressor that burns out after only 7 or 8 years and a compressor that lasts 15 years.

Oil leaks

Another concern with oil is that it can leak from the compressor motor and mix with liquid refrigerant. This situation will rapidly lead to a compressor burn-out. 

Too little or too much refrigerant

An AC runs on a specific refrigerant charge, and if it has either too little (due to leaks) or too much (due to a repair error or amateur work), it will not only harm the AC’s efficiency and performance, it will eventually force the compressor to fail. With low refrigerant, the compressor will overheat. With too much refrigerant, the cold liquid refrigerant will move in the wrong direction into the compressor and cause a situation called slugging that will cause it to fail.

Electrical problems

The wires, contacts, and other electrical components of the compressor motor can fail. This is also a problem that occurs because of a lack of regular maintenance. 

Old age

Even with the best regular maintenance and prompt repairs done when necessary, a compressor will wear down over time until it eventually fails. When your AC is more than 12 years old, the compressor is at a higher likelihood of breaking down. Usually, the best step is to replace the air conditioner at this point, since it’s already in the upper levels of its service life expectancy. 

Reach out to us if you have any concerns about the current state of your AC. Preventive action can help ensure you don’t get caught in the heat with a failed air conditioner. 

Experience the Premier Difference! Premier Heating & Air has been family-owned and operated since 2001.

Comments are closed.