If your home's central air conditioner has been running well and then suddenly stops working, it may be due to an overloaded compressor. Your air conditioner is designed to withstand a certain amount of demand in specific conditions, and sometimes a variation of either one can lead to overload on the compressor, causing it to fail completely. Here's what you need to know about compressor overload on your central air system.
What Is Compressor Overload?
When the compressor in your air conditioning system has been placed under intense demand or severe operating conditions, it can stress the compressor to the point of complete failure. That failure due to the excessive operation is called compressor overload. Essentially, the compressor has been overworked due to any of a number of reasons and has stopped working as a result.
What Causes Compressor Overload?
A central air conditioning unit can fail from compressor overload for a number of reasons. Understanding the causes can help you not only troubleshoot it if it does happen, but potentially prevent it from happening altogether.
Some of the most common causes of compressor overload are directly due to neglect on your part. For example, a dirty air filter can hinder air flow, causing the system to strain to work. This can lead to the compressor working excessively and ultimately burning out from overload. In addition, if your air conditioning unit's air intake vents are blocked by grass clippings, leaves, or other debris, it won't be able to draw enough air into the system. This can lead to the same problem.
System malfunctions can also be to blame for an air conditioner's compressor suffering overload. Electrical wiring damage can cause the unit to work inefficiently or sporadically, leading to overload on the compressor. In addition, if the unit is low on refrigerant or is suffering a refrigerant leak, those problems can also cause the unit to work far harder than it should.
Moisture accumulation in the system and the failure of other components, including the fan and the capacitor, can also lead to overload and a failing compressor.
Dealing With An Overloaded Compressor
The way that your HVAC technician will respond to an overloaded compressor is going to vary based on the reason for the failure and the age of your air conditioning unit. The older the unit, the more likely your repair technician will recommend a complete replacement.
On the other hand, he or she may repair the problem that caused the overload as well as replace the compressor to get your existing unit up and running again. Talk with your air conditioning technician today for more information.