After noticing that your home's vents are blowing warm air when your air conditioner is running, you may suspect that there is a serious problem with the unit. If so, look for the following signs that your central AC unit's compressor is starting to fail.
Compressor Begins Hard-Starting
Normally, whenever the AC unit kicks on, the compressor makes a low humming noise as it starts up and refrigerant is pumped through the component. However, as the compressor starts to break down, it has trouble forcing the initial refrigerant through the lines.
When the compressor starts having issues with pumping, it may make a loud banging noise that is followed by a constant clicking sound. The loud bang means that it is hard-starting and having problems initiating the pumping action needed to send the refrigerant through the system.
Unit's Case Starts Vibrating
Another sign that your air conditioner's compressor is going bad is when the unit's casing vibrates whenever the compressor is running. As the compressor starts failing, it starts vibrating and moving while it tries to pump refrigerant through it.
The compressor's excessive movements start affecting its brackets, and the vibrations will travel through the entire unit, leading to the casing. If these vibrations continue without repairs, the compressor, as well as other components inside the unit, can become loose and break off, causing an immediate breakdown of your air conditioner.
Pools of Refrigerant Form Around the Unit
As the compressor fails and starts coming apart from the constant movement and vibrations, one of the lines either inside or connected to the component can break. When this happens, refrigerant leaks out onto the floor of the unit and eventually form pools around it.
A refrigerant leak inside your air conditioner not only makes it difficult for the unit to cool your home, the liquid itself can be dangerous. If the fumes circulate through your home or your pet or child comes into contact with the fluid, there is a risk of refrigerant poisoning.
If you notice pools of refrigerant around your AC unit, turn it off, and keep everyone away from the liquid. Then, call an air conditioning repair professional as soon as possible so they can determine the cause.
If your central air conditioning unit is exhibiting one or more of the above signs, its compressor is most likely failing, putting your unit at risk of dying altogether. If you suspect this is the case, contact an HVAC contractor to have the compressor inspected to see if you need to have it or your entire unit replaced.