Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

How You Can Tell If You Need an HVAC Compressor Replacement

Is an HVAC compressor replacement required for your central air conditioner? The compressor is the beating heart of a central AC, and refrigerant is its lifeblood. Refrigerant extracts heat from indoor air at the evaporator coil and then flows to the compressor in the outdoor unit. This powerful, 220-volt motor compresses heat molecules in the refrigerant flow, then releases the hot refrigerant into the condenser coil, where it rapidly disperses indoor heat into outdoor air.

Symptoms that may mean you need an HVAC compressor replacement include:

  • System automatically shuts down for unknown reasons
  • Circuit breaker trips repeatedly
  • Low refrigerant due to leakage at the compressor
  • Unusual noises from the compressor
  • Substandard cooling performance

If you believe your HVAC compressor may be failing, service by a qualified HVAC technician is required to diagnose the problem.  Here are some options you may consider if the component is defective.

  • Repair the unit. In some very limited circumstances, a compressor may be repairable. However, even if repair of a compressor that has incurred substantial wear and tear is possible, it’s likely that another component in this aging unit will fail in the very near future, requiring replacement of the entire compressor eventually anyway.
  • HVAC compressor replacement under warranty. If the defective HVAC compressor is still under warranty and other existing components in the AC system are functioning satisfactorily, warrantied replacement of the compressor alone is probably the best option.
  • What if the warranty has expired? In this case, replacing the compressor alone may be the most affordable option if finances are limited. However, this means you retain other critical parts of the central AC system, including original evaporator and condenser coils. It’s worth considering that the compressor itself is generally the most costly component in a central air conditioner. Therefore, taking this opportunity to replace the entire system now — instead of just the compressor alone — may be the best option for cooling performance, energy-efficiency, and low operating costs. You’ll also get the benefits of a new warranty covering all components.

For professional advice about HVAC compressor replacement, contact the experts at Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company.