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5 Ways to Avoid AC Compressor Failure in Alexandria, VA

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An air conditioner compressor raises the temperature and pressure of the vapor refrigerant that leaves the evaporator coil. The compressor needs to raise the vapor refrigerant pressure to create a pressure difference for the refrigerant to flow. The compressor raises the pressure of the refrigerant, so it flows to the lower-pressure refrigerant in the evaporator coil.

When your ac compressor fails, less air exits the vents. Your AC produces warm air. Plus, the system may continually run without cooling your home. As a result, you may experience additional wear and tear on the system. Your AC will also use more energy, resulting in higher utility bills. Below we look at five ways to avoid AC compressor failure

1. Schedule An Annual AC Inspection

The best way to avoid AC compressor failure is to schedule an annual AC inspection. An HVAC Company in Alexandria, Virginia, can assess your entire cooling system, including an AC compressor inspection. The process is known as a compressor test.

The AC technician sets a multimeter to continuity and places the pins on the compressor contacts. Setting the dial on your multimeter to continuity tests if the current is properly running through your compressor clutch. If the reading is below 3 ohms or above 5 ohms, you’ll need to replace the compressor coil. 

An AC compressor should last 12 to 15 years. However, problems can arise that weaken the compressor. It is why you should schedule an AC inspection annually. 

2. Look for the AC Compressor Failure Symptoms

Another way to avoid AC compressor failure is to know the symptoms of problems as they arise. Some of the most common symptoms of compressor failure include

  • Strange AC noises
  • Leaking fluid
  • High electric bill
  • Limited airflow
  • Warm airflow
  • Overheating outdoor unit

Use your hand to check the air coming from the compressor fan. If your compressor is bad, the air will feel lukewarm. When the compressor is functioning correctly, it compresses the refrigerant gas, which creates heat. The fan then expels this heat to ensure your HVAC system doesn’t overheat. If the air from the fan is lukewarm, the compressor likely isn’t compressing the gas.

3. Keep the Compressor Coil Clean

One DIY job you can do yourself is clean the coils on the AC compressor. 

Keeping the AC coils clean is important so that heat can exchange efficiently through them without being blocked by dirt and debris. A lack of routine maintenance on the coils can lead to higher energy bills and consumption or an overheating AC system.

Mix a simple detergent and warm water in a spray bottle or garden sprayer. Spray the solution onto the evaporator coils and give it a few minutes to soak in and loosen the dirt and debris. Wipe away any loosened material with a soft brush or cloth and reapply as needed.

You can also prevent AC coil corrosion by taking a few simple steps.

  • Apply an anti-corrosive coating after you clean the coils.
  • Install a whole-house air cleaner on your HVAC system to capture and eliminate airborne VOCs.
  • Rinse the outdoor unit with a hose monthly to prevent debris buildup.

4. Lubricate the Air Conditioner As Needed

Central air conditioners rely on fans to pull air through the condenser coils to dissipate heat. These fans are subject to outdoor conditions, dirt, and grime. While most current models of air conditioners have motors that don’t need to be oiled, older units require periodic oiling to keep the fan in good condition. 

Oiling the air conditioner can be a tricky task, depending on the age and type of unit you have. If the job is easy, you can do it yourself. If not, we recommend calling an HVAC company in Alexandria, Virginia. 

You should schedule professional AC maintenance at least once a year. A technician can inspect the compressor and the fan to ensure they are working properly, clean, and lubricated. 

Note: Do NOT use WD-40 or all-purpose lubricants to oil your AC. Check your manufacturer’s owner manual to find out what type of oil is best for your make and model.

5. Inspect the Wiring

Exposed wiring occurs when the insulated casing gets damaged, causing it to fall off and leaving the bare wire. Depending on the situation, it may be a little area or a whole wire. If the wire is rubbing against something sharp, it can expose the wire and sever the wires. Dry rot can also cause the casing to fall off wires, exposing them.

Most central heating and cooling units are split where part of the unit is inside the home and the other is outside. Both units will have wiring from the main unit going into the wall and the circuit breaker. Frayed or exposed wires need immediate repair in case of an electrical fire.

Schedule AC Repair in Alexandria, Virginia

If your air conditioner is making strange noises, leaking fluid, or overheating, it may be time to repair or replace the compressor. Cardinal Plumbing, Heating & Air offers professional AC repair in Alexandria, Virginia. Fill out our contact form or call us to schedule an in-home assessment.

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