The compressor is one of the most significant components in an air conditioning unit. This device pumps refrigerant throughout the system so that it can absorb warm air and allow cool air to circulate inside the home. While it can last for up to 15 years, regular wear and tear can lead to early failure. If you are experiencing issues with your HVAC system, below are several indications that the compressor is failing.

How Can You Tell an Air Conditioning Compressor Is Broken?

1. Warm Air

air conditioning

When you turn the air conditioning system on, it should start blowing cool air almost immediately. However, if it is outputting warm air even after a few minutes, you likely don't have any refrigerant flowing through the system. While this could be due to a leak, you can easily identify this if you notice a sweet-smelling liquid pooling around the outside unit. If you don't find this, the compressor is faulty and will require a professional replacement.

2. Strange Noises

If the compressor is defective, it can cause the outdoor unit to make rattling or ticking sounds. Rattling noises imply that screws and other parts are loose inside the compressor's motor, causing them to shake when the component engages.

A ticking noise when the unit turns on or off can indicate the electrical relay isn't suppling enough power to the compressor. Have a professional inspect the outdoor unit whenever you hear these noises, as without prompt attention, the issues can damage the entire system.

3. Tripping Circuit Breaker

If your outdoor unit doesn't seem to be getting power, verify that the fuse for the system is on. When a compressor overheats or draws too much power, it can cause the circuit break to trip, shutting off the power supply. This safety feature protects your system and home from further damage, including a potential fire. If the outdoor unit causes the circuit breaker to trip more than once, the compressor will need a replacement.


When you need help diagnosing and repairing your air conditioning system, contact Air One Heating & Cooling LLC in Foley, AL. For over 20 years, these licensed and certified technicians have been helping homeowners clean dirty coils, fix electrical issues, repair compressors, and seal refrigerant leaks. Call (251) 967-1665 to schedule an appointment, or visit them online to learn more about their services.