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Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -

Serving Orange County

- SINCE 1981 -


Hours: Monday-Friday 7:30-5:30PM
Saturday: 8:00-1:00PM


Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

Signs of a Failing Compressor in an Air Conditioner

Southern Californians all know the importance of reliable air conditioning — and many are all too familiar with the signs of trouble. One of the biggest issues you might face is a failing compressor. This is the part of your AC that handles all the heat transference. Without it, you’ll get nothing but hot air blowing throughout your home. 

Most compressors don’t just give out all at once. They’ll give some warning signs that they’re failing, which an HVAC tech can correct. 

Whenever you need air conditioning repair in Mission Viejo, CA, or anywhere else in Orange County, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Getting service as soon as possible can save you money and, in some cases, save your entire HVAC.

What Causes a Compressor to Go Bad?

Compressors often fail due to overheating, which can be caused by refrigerant leaks, clogged air filters, and improper sizing. An AC that’s too small for your house will have to work double time to do its job. This puts it at a much higher risk of burning up and giving out early.

The good news is that signs of a failing compressor are fixable in most cases. Early intervention can stop the issue in its tracks and spare you the cost of replacing your entire air conditioning unit.

What Are the Signs of a Failing Compressor?

Here are 6 warning signs that your AC compressor is failing. If you notice any of them, give us a call right away. 

1. Your AC Has Trouble Starting

If your air conditioner doesn’t turn on, takes a while to “wind up”, or frequently stutters before a cycle, your compressor may be in need of some TLC. The compressor is the most important part of your entire system, so if it’s failing, your AC might struggle to perform the most basic functions.

2. Less Cooling

Without a compressor in tip-top shape, your AC’s cooling efficiency will drop significantly. In the early stages of compressor failure, you might only notice slightly reduced cooling or poor airflow. As time goes on, it will become more noticeable. Even turning your thermostat down lower than usual won’t make much of a difference. 

3. Unexpected Electrical Bills

Higher bills without any change in use is a telltale sign that something is up with your AC.

When a compressor starts to fail, your system will run longer than usual, thus drawing more power and costing you more money.

4. Increased Humidity Indoors

When indoor humidity levels get too high, you’ll feel “sticky” or clammy even when the AC is on. Certain parts of the house may take on a tropical climate, and the moisture in the air can lead to mold growth in kitchens and bathrooms especially. 

A dehumidifier may help lower the moisture levels marginally, but they will only persist as your compressor worsens.

5. Strange Noises Coming From the Compressor Cabinet 

When you turn your AC on, check the outside unit. If you hear any screeching or grinding, there’s likely something wrong with your compressor. ACs are meant to operate silently, so any noises coming from inside your system are a sign that you need to call for professional air conditioning repair. 

Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Call today!

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