Summers in Tennessee are gorgeous, but admittedly they can get quite warm. July and August are particularly hot, and when the temps start to rise to above 90 more people tend to stay indoors. We rely heavily on our HVAC units to keep us cool, but when one or some of the parts start to falter, it can disrupt the whole system. One component, in particular, is the compressor.

What does a compressor do for my HVAC?

An HVAC system has a compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. All of these work in tandem to bring you cold air on a hot day. Primarily, air conditioners “rely on two facts of nature. One is that heat flows from a high-temperature area to a lower temperature area. The other is that gases always flow from a high-pressure area to a low-pressure area.” The compressor squeezes the refrigerant gas and raises the temperature. When it exits the system, it’s a hot, high-pressure gas that’s quickly transferred to the condenser coil outside. After the compressor has drawn as much heat from the refrigerant and the condenser has expelled it into the atmosphere, the evaporator coil expands the gas and reduces the pressure. The cycle repeats continuously to provide your house with cold air.

Maintenance Tips for the Compressor

Having to replace the compressor is a pretty big repair for your HVAC system. You can avoid damages by following a few tips.

  • Wrap the compressor in the winter to protect it from cold weather. You’ll want to unplug it first, but you can use a cloth to wrap it, so it avoids icing over.
  • Get obstructions out of the way of your outdoor unit. Air is both expelled and sucked in through the outdoor portion of the unit. Branches, leaves, and other debris can get lodged, potentially causing damage.
  • High-pressure switches are designed to help the compressor not overheat. We get hot summers, and any unit that sits directly in the sunlight can get even hotter. You might want to switch the pressure switch on during very hot summer days.
  • Compressors pull in dust and other contaminants. Keep your HVAC filters clean to promote smooth operation. If the air can’t pass through easily the compressor works twice as hard to pump cold air into the home.
  • A clean condenser coil helps improve compressor efficiency. Keep it clean year-round to avoid issues during the hot summer months when you need it most.

Signs You have Issues with Your Compressor

It’s not maintaining the correct pressure

Incorrect pressure will cause your unit to be ineffective while cooling your home. With pressures too high or too low, your system isn’t working correctly, meaning you’ll need to get a trusted contractor to help you diagnose the issue. Wondering how you can confirm the pressure? It’s time to find your owner’s manual. It will have more information about reading the compressor and the pressure gauges. Anything that falls outside of average needs attention.

The compressor is loose or worn.

You’ll know if the compressor might be loose or worn because it will remain in the “on” position, but it won’t be operating correctly. It could be a little sluggish, or no cold air will pump out. Becoming worn or loose is expected with regular use during Tennessee’s hot summers. Replacing or installing gauge ports can help the issue.

Electrical issues causing burn out.

Is the HVAC unit causing the circuit breaker to trip out? The circuit breaker is designed to protect your home from a fire. If it continuously shuts off, you need to seek professional help. The compressor might be overheating requiring a lot of energy use. The circuit breaker will recognize the excess need for energy and shut down to protect your home.

It is making unusual noises.

Any sound out of place is a good indicator of a larger problem. Some sounds that illustrate issues is hissing or rattling. Stuttering when it starts up is another problem too. Anything could be causing the compressor to make that sound. Components within the device could be dislodged. Fixing the compressor as soon as you notice unusual sounds reduces strain. It’s possible to save it before it goes out entirely if you bring in someone like Busy Bee to help.

Hiring the Right HVAC Contractor

When you’re having problems with your HVAC unit, you don’t want to trust the diagnosis with just anyone. Working with a professional who has years of experience helping residential and commercial properties will help you accurately identify issues. Better still, working with a company like Busy Bee means you can trust our opinion. We won’t try to upsell or have you replace parts that don’t need replacing. We’re homeowners too and understand that value of a professional’s opinion. We’ll work together to ensure we’re doing all we can to help you get the most out of your A/C unit all summer long.

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