Keeping Your Home Cool during the Sweltering, Summer Months

Signs That You May Need A New Compressor Pump For Your Central AC System

by Anthony Graves

Your central air conditioner may be a necessary appliance if you live in the western or southern part of the United States. These areas of the country can become quite hot during the summer months, and using the central AC in your home is one of the quickest and easiest ways for you to cool down. You probably know that maintenance is the key to keeping your AC unit up and running. However, some parts within the system will wear down over time. This may mean that a major repair is needed. Keeping an eye out for signs that you need a repair will help you to schedule an AC service as soon as possible so your cooling system does not go down for good. Keep reading to learn about some signs that your compressor pump may be failing.

Limited Cool Air

If you are experiencing a low volume of cool air moving through your vents and you have checked for a dirty air filter, holes in the ducts, and dirty condenser fins, then it is possible that your AC compressor pump is failing. The compressor is the part of the system that places the coolant under pressure. There are three different types of compressors that may be installed inside the condenser unit and they are called rotary, piston, and reciprocating pumps. All of these pumps use internal components to place pressure on the coolant that flows into the pump. The pressurized refrigerant is then forced out of an outlet pipe, and the liquid moves into an evaporator coil.

When the compressor pump can no longer do its job and place the refrigerant under pressure, it may move some gaseous coolant through the system. The coolant will be unable to cool down air like pressurized liquid coolant can, and lukewarm air will be pumped into your house.

Warm air may also be the result of leaking coolant around broken or worn seals either inside our around the outlets of the compressor pump. You can do a bit of investigating if you want to see if leaks are present. Purchase a leak detection kit from your local home store. Look for a kit with a dye, a UV light, and protective glasses. The dye in the kit will ooze out of openings in the cooling system. Use the directions on the kit to place the dye in the refrigerant recharge port located inside the control panel of the system. Look for the control panel on the back of the condenser to locate the port. 

Once the dye is inserted, remove the top cover from the unit, put the glasses on, and turn on the UV light. You will see the dye glowing a yellow or blue color wherever there is a leak. If you see this around the compressor pump, then the part is leaking and a replacement or a rebuild is required.

Banging, Clanking, And Shaking

If one or several parts or pieces within the AC compressor have started to wear away, go bad, or fall apart, then several different things may happen. You will likely notice the entire condenser unit shaking as it turns on. The shaking may continue as the unit runs, or it may stop once the unit heats up. You may also hear some banging or clanking noises as the compressor pump works.

The shaking that you notice will be the result of the compressor being off balance or it will be due to a vibrating unit. Both of these things can occur if a component in the compressor breaks down. For example, if the pump is piston driven, then a central crankshaft will force the piston up and down by moving a connecting rod. If the crankshaft breaks off from the right or left side of the piston assembly, then the piston will be off balance as it moves up and down. This can create a great deal of shaking.

Noises can indicate similar issues. In the above example, a banging noise may be heard as the broken part of the crankshaft knocks against the side of the compressor pump. Also, if something like a piston ring or a seal that covers one of the rings wears down, the metal piston may rub up against the piston chamber. This can cause noises. 

If you hear noises or see any shaking, then you can remove the cover from the unit to see if the issue is coming directly from the compressor pump. If so, contact a company like Advanced Heating & Cooling as soon as possible.