Common Problems AC Compressors Develop

AC compressor problems in Palm Desert, CA

The last thing you want on a hot day is for your AC system to stop working. If the AC compressor is the problem, it can result in a big repair bill. Thankfully, many problems with AC compressors are avoidable.

What Is an AC Compressor?

The AC compressor is inside the outdoor AC unit. It is one of the key components of an AC system, without which cool air wouldn’t be blown into your home. When well-cared for, it’s a component that can last 15 years or more.

Refrigerant collects heat from the evaporator. From there it flows to the AC compressor, which compresses it and turns it into a gas. The refrigerant then flows to the condenser coil, where the heat is released outside. It turns back into a liquid and the process is repeated.

Dirty Coils

There is also a condenser coil in the outdoor AC unit. This part naturally collects dust, dirt, and other debris. When it’s dirty, your AC system has to work harder to cool your home. This extra strain can cause the AC compressor to overheat and break down. To help prevent this, replace the air filter every one to three months. You should also schedule maintenance every spring. As part of this service, the condenser coil and other critical parts will be cleaned.

Breeze Air Conditioning in Palm Desert, CA does preventative AC maintenance. Our technicians are NATE certified and able to service all makes and models of air conditioners.

Low Refrigerant Charge

The refrigerant lines in your AC system can crack or develop holes. If your AC system is unable to cool your home, it may mean you have a problem with the refrigerant being too low. If this isn’t taken care of, the AC compressor will overheat and fail. You’ll need a technician to find and patch the refrigerant lines and then recharge the refrigerant.

Too Much Refrigerant

Too much refrigerant can also cause the AC compressor to fail. This can happen if you have someone recharge the refrigerant who is less than qualified for the job. The amount of refrigerant in your AC system must be precisely how much the manufacturer says there should be. You should only hire an experienced HVAC company to work on your AC system.

Electrical Failure

An electrical failure may be to blame. This failure can damage wires, electrical connections, and other parts of the AC system. A power surge can also cause big problems. When your AC system is tuned-up by a professional, they will look for signs of electrical problems.

Lack of Lubrication

The AC compressor needs to be lubricated to operate smoothly. If it doesn’t have adequate lubrication, it will wear out and need to be replaced. Two signs that it doesn’t have enough lubrication is your AC system running constantly and not efficiently cooling your home. This is another problem that can be avoided by having your AC system get annual maintenance from a technician. The technician will lubricate the AC compressor and the blower.


As the AC compressor is outside, it is subject to the elements. It can get covered in contaminants like fungi, bacteria, bird droppings, and insects. It can also have dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris on it. The AC compressor will be thoroughly cleaned during preventative maintenance to keep it running well. You can help by keeping the area around the outdoor AC unit free of weeds, branches, and other vegetation.

Suction Line Issues

Over time, the suction lines in your AC system may crack or develop holes. When this happens, the AC compressor has to work harder to pump the refrigerant through the system. This extra work can cause the AC compressor to eventually break down. If your AC system isn’t cooling like it’s supposed to, faulty suction lines may be to blame.

The suction lines may also be too short or long. If they’re the wrong size, pressure can build in the AC compressor and cause it to overheat. This problem is another reason why you should only have an experienced HVAC company install, repair, or maintain your AC system.

Breeze Air Conditioning replaces, repairs, and maintains furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, packaged systems, and geothermal systems. We can also help you with mini-splits, indoor air quality solutions, outdoor and patio fireplaces, and humidifiers. Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.