How Do I Check an AC Compressor?
TechXpert verified by Ken Kontra
You can check your AC compressor is bad by listening to it, feeling airflow, and watching your monthly bills. These are three easy ways to tell if your AC compressor is bad (no tools required) before calling in an HVAC technician to conduct a performance test.
Is My Compressor Bad?
Think your compressor may be broken? Looking for clues is hard when you don't know where to start. Get to the bottom of your AC problem and put your detective skills to the test with this shortlist on how to check your AC compressor.
What to Check
Feeling the air discharged from your condenser fan can indicate whether it’s doing its job right. The air should be warmer than the air outside since it is releasing the heat that was removed from inside of your home. Increases in your electric bill and odd noises coming from your unit during the start-up process can also tell you your compressor is struggling. However, to truly test your compressor, an HVAC professional has to conduct an evaluation.
Some Like It Hot
Diagnosing a bad compressor can be simple if you know what to look for. An easy first step to solving this mystery is to feel the fan air temperature. Place your hand above the condenser fan to feel for warmth. Your condenser fan discharges heat removed from your home so if the air released is lukewarm or cold, there’s likely a problem.
When your compressor is howling up a storm or thundering along, it’s probably a sign it’s facing some turbulence. When your compressor breaks down, you'll hear loud noises like grinding and squeaking coming from your system as it runs. Listen for unusual sounds when you’re sleuthing around your system.
Call Your Technician
Can’t crack the case? Time to call in a partner who knows how to look for all the right evidence — your HVAC technician. By conducting an acid away HVAC test, your technician can see if your compressor is broken or breaking down. Mystery solved!
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