Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Signs of an AC Compressor in Peril


When it comes to AC repair in Frederick, MD, the part you most want to keep in good shape is the compressor. This component is the workhorse of the air conditioning system: it consumes the most electricity to run (35,000–41,000 watts per hour) and it’s necessary to cause refrigerant to circulate through the AC and move heat from indoors to outdoors. Because the compressor is such an expensive part to replace, people often opt to replace their entire air conditioning system when the compressor fails.

In other words, if you can possibly catch a compressor that’s in danger of failing, you want to. If technicians can perform repairs that will rescue the compressor, you’ll have prevented a much more expensive service.

So … how can you tell that your compressor may need our technicians’ attention?

The condenser cabinet is visibly vibrating

When the AC is running, you can place your hand on the outdoor condenser cabinet and feel the vibration of the fan and compressor. However, you shouldn’t be able to see the condenser vibrating. If this happens, something is seriously wrong, either with the compressor or the fan. You’ll want technicians on the job right away—after you shut off the AC so it won’t suffer further damage.

You’ve noticed higher humidity in your home

When a compressor struggles to do its normal job, it won’t circulate enough refrigerant. This will have an effect on your indoor comfort, but before you notice a difference in temperature, you’ll likely notice a rise in humidity. This is a consequence of less refrigerant moving through the condenser coil and drawing moisture from the air. The humidity change could come from other problems, but you’ll want to find the source no matter what it is.

Strange noises are coming from the condenser

A failing compressor can make several distinct noises that will interrupt the standard white noise of the AC. You can expect some clicking sounds when the AC cycles down, but if you’re hearing loud, regular clicking from the condenser, it may point toward a compressor problem. Also watch out for mechanical shrieking and grinding which warn the compressor motor may be burning out. 

The air conditioner is hard starting

Hard starting is when the compressor draws on more power than normal to start. It’s similar to a car engine having trouble turning over. If your AC has started to struggle with beginning its cooling cycle, you may need to have professionals install a hard start kit. This attachment to the compressor helps it overcome resistance so it will continue to work and won’t rapidly wear down. 

Extremely high electric bills

In general, a sudden increase in your electrical costs in summer is a good reason to call for HVAC experts to inspect the air conditioner. Many malfunctions could cause the AC to drain extra power. But the compressor is one of the biggest, and when it malfunctions, the rise in costs can be steep. 

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn! Schedule service today to have your air conditioning system repaired in Frederick, MD and Montgomery County.