ac compressor overheating

5 Common Symptoms of an Overheating AC Compressor

Imagine: your AC unit stops working properly, and you’re left bewildered in the sweltering heat. 

If you’ve been there, you know it’s not fun. The best way to prevent this situation and others like it is by taking preventative measures to keep your system in optimal condition. You can take control of the situation by being aware of the signs that your AC compressor is overheating. 

In this post, Anderson Air will provide you with the top fifteen symptoms of an overheated air conditioner compressor so that you can diagnose and repair the issue before it’s too late. 

Common symptoms of an overheating AC compressor

An overheating AC compressor may show several signs like weird noises, limited air flow, or failure to turn on. Here are some common symptoms: 

1. Loud or strange noises

While your unit should make noise, strange sounds, like vibrations, rumblings, popping noises, bangs, clicking and growling sounds, can signal a problem. 

If you hear a whirring or clunking sound from your unit, this could point to deterioration in the AC’s internal parts—including the compressor itself—or potentially reveal an underlying issue with the blower fan motor. 

2. Compressor doesn’t turn on, or it’s blowing warm air

If your compressor doesn’t turn on, it could mean it’s become too hot. This is common and can lead to AC compressor failure if left unresolved. Also, if your AC only blows hot air, it could signal an issue with the compressor. Contact a professional for assistance immediately to prevent the issue from worsening. 

3. Reduced airflow

One of the telltale signs of an overheated AC compressor is reduced airflow. Your air conditioning system relies heavily on adequate ventilation and any decreases can have serious repercussions for its operation.

Lack of ventilation places undue strain on your unit while also negatively affecting the comfort of your Arkansas home. A decrease in air output means higher indoor moisture levels that can promote mold and mildew growth.

4. Higher electricity bills

Unexpected jumps in your utility costs could indicate issues with your AC compressor. Your air conditioner could overheat and draw more electricity than normal to produce cool air – leading to unexpectedly higher electricity consumption costs.

Faulty thermostats or low refrigerant levels often contribute to increased energy use. Not maintaining these components can often lead to a spike in your bills. 

5. Burning smells

Burning smells wafting in from your AC unit are a red flag. Contact an HVAC professional immediately as burning could be extremely dangerous. 

Possible sources could include short-circuiting compressors, worn-out bearings, dirty air filters or internal electrical issues. It could also be from damaged capacitors or loose hoses which often produce the smell of burning plastic or rubber.

Additionally, low refrigerant levels could spell trouble, leading to temperature changes, frozen AC coils and even pooling water hidden within the device. 

Why your AC compressor is running to hot

Now that we’ve looked at some of the symptoms, you may be wondering why this happens in the first place. Here are some possible reasons: 

Dirty condenser coils

Dirty condenser coils can hurt your home’s air conditioning system. Over time, these coils may become blocked with dirt and debris accumulations that restrict airflow around the condenser, hindering its performance and reducing its efficiency.

Not cleaning your coils can increase internal pressure, forcing the compressor to work harder and overheat. 

Low refrigerant levels

Insufficient refrigerant can play an instrumental role in AC compressor overheating. An inadequate supply forces the compressor to work harder, increasing heat build-up.

Low coolant forces the unit to run for extended periods, leading to overheated conditions which may ultimately result in its failure if left unaddressed. Low refrigerant levels also diminish cooling efficiency which in turn negatively impacts air flow.

Improperly sized air conditioner

The wrong sized AC unit can actually have detrimental effects including an overheating compressor. Choosing the right size is critical in ensuring your air conditioner operates efficiently and delivers the appropriate cooling comfort for your home.

An AC system of insufficient capacity may fail to adequately cool all rooms during peak summer heat, instead running continuously trying to meet demand, straining its compressor and resulting in overheating.

An over-sized unit will quickly shut off before it has the chance to fully dehumidify your living spaces, leaving them damp and musty. Furthermore, frequent start-ups and stops place undue stress on its compressor causing it to work overtime before finally stopping altogether leading to system failure. 

Electrical problems

Faulty electrical connections and overloaded circuits can wreak havoc with your AC compressor’s operation and lead to overheating issues. Such problems could trigger power surges that eventually result in overheating and breakdowns.

If your system is running too hot, this could be due to improper wiring which compromises not only its efficiency but also poses potential fire hazards. If you notice or suspect any electrical issues, contact a professional to repair it quickly and minimize the chance of major mishaps.

How to prevent your compressor from overheating

The number one way to prevent an overheating compressor is through regular maintenance and professional servicing. This keeps your unit at its peak and also helps to avoid expensive repairs and or a full replacement.

Here are some things you can do to keep your unit up to snuff: 

  • Keep the outdoor unit clean. A blocked or obstructed outdoor unit can hinder the rest of the unit and lead to overheating. 
  • Check for proper air flow. Ensure your indoor components including vents have air flowing freely as well. 
  • Change or clean filters regularly. Clean filters help keep air flowing, avoiding overworking and ultimately reducing the potential for overheating. 
  • Avoid running your system at extreme temperatures. Your HVAC system works harder in extreme temperatures, putting extra strain on the compressor. So try not to crank it up. 
  • Keep an eye on warning signs. If you notice any of the signs listed above, contact a professional ASAP. 
  • Schedule regular maintenance. Investing in routine upkeep and expert services is key. This way you can keep your money where it belongs: in your pocket. 

For the best HVAC care, call Anderson Air. 

With the right information, diagnosing and repairing an overheating AC compressor can be easy. It’s always good to know the signs so you can catch any malfunctions early and protect your system. For issues with your AC compressor, we recommend getting professional assistance. 

Anderson Air is here to help! Our experienced HVAC technicians have the expertise to answer any questions and provide solutions for all your air conditioning needs. Call or contact us to book an appointment today! 

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