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How To Tell Whether Your Ducted Air Conditioning System Has A Weak Compressor

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The compressor is the most crucial component of your ducted air conditioner's outdoor unit. It compresses and pressurizes the refrigerant to raise its temperature and convert it from liquid to gas. As a result, the refrigerant is able to dissipate heat outdoors and continue the cooling cycle. Therefore, if you have a weak compressor, your air conditioner won't function properly. Below are signs that indicate your ducted unit's compressor is faulty and requires repairs.

House Not Cooling Fast Enough 

During a cooling cycle, the refrigerant absorbs heat from the building. The heat causes the refrigerant to convert from liquid to gas. For the AC to cool efficiently, it must convert the refrigerant back to liquid. For this to happen, the compressor has to compress the refrigerant to create more heat. The extra heat is dissipated outdoors through the condenser coils, a process that turns the refrigerant from gas to liquid again. 

If the compressor is defective, it won't effectively pressurize the refrigerant and increase its temperature. Consequently, the condenser coils won't effectively cool the refrigerant to convert it into a liquid. Inadequate cooling limits the amount of heat the refrigerant can absorb from the building during each cycle, which causes inefficient cooling in the home. 

Variable-Speed Settings Not Working

Modern air conditioning systems have variable speed settings that allow the unit to run at any speed between the minimum and maximum output. This operation is enabled by variable speed compressors, motors, and fans. Variable-speed compressors use an inverter to control motor speed and cooling output.

If the inverter is damaged, it won't be able to control the motor speed. Consequently, the compressor will operate at maximum speed or at a specific speed at all times, despite the cooling load. If your air conditioner isn't adjusting the cooling output when some zones are turned off, you have a faulty inverter or compressor fan. Check the motor for defects as well.

Outdoor Unit Overheating and Short Cycling 

The outdoor unit requires enough ventilation to keep the compressor cool. There should be adequate space around the unit to allow the compressor fan to blow cool air over the compressor and condenser coils. Inadequate ventilation and fan defects can cause the compressor to overheat. As a result, the motor overheats and turns on intermittently.

If you don't address this problem, the compressor components may become damaged. Besides clearing the space around the compressor, check the refrigerant levels as well. If the AC is low on refrigerant, the outdoor unit may overheat, causing the air conditioner to short-cycle or stop working.

Is your air conditioner exhibiting any of the above signs? If so, you have a faulty compressor. Contact an AC contractor for immediate air conditioning repairs.