How to Know If Your AC Compressor Is Bad: A Guide for Mansfield, TX, Residents

How to Know If Your AC Compressor Is Bad: A Guide for Mansfield, TX, Residents

Most people have probably heard of an AC compressor, but they might not know much about what it does or why it’s important. Homeowners need to understand their core HVAC system components so they can get the repairs they need when they need them. With that in mind, the team at Minuteman Heating & Air is to discuss how to know if your AC compressor is bad. 

Contact Minuteman Heating & Air for Mansfield’s top-rated air conditioning services!

What Does Your AC Compressor Do?

The compressor is a core system of your air conditioner that pressurizes heated coolant fluid so your system can expel heat. The compressor is typically located in the outdoor condenser unit and powered by a separate motor. Its main function is compressing heated, low-pressure coolant fluid to a high-pressure vapor state. 

How Do Compressors Work?

Most modern air conditioners use one of three common types of air compressors. The exact mechanisms differ, but they all work by transferring heat from the refrigerant to the condenser. 

  • Reciprocating compressors contain a small piston that quickly moves back and forth, compressing the air in the unit. Some units have compressors with multiple pistons. 
  • Rotating compressors contain an angled rotating blade in a hollow cylindrical shaft. As the blade rotates, it moves and compresses air at the same time. 
  • Screw air compressors contain a pair of screws that rotate against each other. As the helices rotate, the push and compressor air. 

It is important to understand the type of compressor you have since different types have different AC compressor symptoms, and your air conditioner is designed to work with a specific type of compressor. 

Bad AC Compressor Signs

Compressors can get damaged for several reasons. They can break from natural wear and tear or freeze over due to a clogged HVAC filter. If you notice any of the following signs, contact an HVAC expert for a faulty AC compressor diagnosis and AC compressor troubleshooting. 

No Cold Air

Without a compressor, your air conditioner cannot create cold air. So, a common sign of a damaged compressor is only cold or lukewarm air in your vents, regardless of thermostat settings. 

Coolant Leak

The AC compressor moves coolant through your system, so leaks and holes near the seals can cause coolant leaks. AC coolant is naturally colorless, but manufacturers might add green or blue dye to help homeowners identify coolant leaks. 

Ticking or Chattering Noise

Compressors typically make a low-volume whirring sound when they turn on. If you instead hear a clicking or ticking noise, it’s a sign you have a compressor problem. A clicking noise could mean that your compressor is having difficulties turning on or could be a sign of loose internal components scraping against each other. 

High Utility Bills

Damaged compressors may start using more electricity than normal to perform their ordinary functions, which can lead to spikes in electricity and cooling bills. 


The typical air conditioner cycles about two to three times per hour. If it cycles more than that, the culprit is probably the compressor. The compressor controls the heating/cooling cycle, so when it’s damaged, the AC might shut off too soon before the current cycle is complete and turn back on soon after. 

Circuit Breaker Trips

If your air conditioner constantly trips your circuit breaker, check the compressor for damage. Compressing air takes a lot of energy, and a broken compressor might be drawing too much electricity, causing the breaker to trip every time the AC turns on. 

Should I Repair or Replace My Damaged Compressor?

If your air compressor breaks down, fully replacing it is usually the most efficient solution. An HVAC technician might be able to repair some types of compressor damage, but a repaired compressor will be much less efficient and more prone to breakdowns than a new one. Replacing a damaged compressor with a new one will save you money and time in the long run. 

AC Compressor Repair and Replacement in Mansfield, TX

Read our blog to learn more about the common signs you need AC services. If you have more questions about knowing if your AC compressor is bad or need help detecting AC compressor problems in Mansfield, TX, contact Minuteman Heating & Air online or call us today at 817-563-1660 to schedule an appointment!