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Dead Compressor—Does It Mean You Need a New AC?

compressor-in-ac-unitWhat’s the worst problem a central air conditioner can face? We won’t keep you in—it’s a dead compressor. When you turn on the air conditioning system to cool down your home, and you hear no sound from the outdoor cabinet aside from the fan, the compressor has stopped working. The fault might not be a dead compressor—it could be a failed capacitor or an electrical issue—but it’s a possibility.

The compressor is the literal heart of an air conditioning system. It’s where energy is applied to the refrigerant to make it circulate through the rest of the AC. Without the compressor to turn refrigerant into a high-pressure hot gas, the refrigerant won’t move between the indoor and outdoor coils and cool the inside air of the house.

Is This the End of the Line for Your Air Conditioner?

You may have heard or read that a dead compressor means the entire air conditioning system must be replaced. It’s not true 100% of the time, but it’s often the case. The compressor is an expensive item to replace. Because dead compressors usually happen in old air conditioners, it’s more cost-effective to start over with a new AC rather than pay to put a new compressor into a system that’s already wasting power and a few years from the junk heap.

Below is helpful breakdown of the different choices you have when the compressor fails.

  • Replace just the compressor – Check the air conditioning system’s warranty, which often covers 10 years parts and labor. Is the compressor still under warranty? If it is, have only the compressor replaced, since the warranty will take care of it.
  • Replace the condenser – The condenser unit is the outdoor cabinet of components, including the compressor, fan, and condenser coil. This is less expensive than a full AC replacement, but we don’t recommend it unless your current budget restricts a bigger job.
  • Replace the air conditioner – This means replacing the condenser and the indoor evaporator coil. (The air handler can stay.) When you do this, you’ll receive a new warranty and you won’t have to worry about a mismatched indoor and outdoor system that reduces energy efficiency.
  • Replace the HVAC system – This includes the air conditioner, the air handler, and the heater. A full overhaul of your central comfort system. This is a good option if you have an old furnace that isn’t living up to expectations. It costs less to have the AC and heater replaced as one job than to stagger them out separately.

Don’t Worry, You Have Help

Still confused? Not sure which choice is right? The good news is you don’t have to make the decision on your own. You have access to experts who can tell you the best way forward when the compressor dies. Our technicians have the experience to help you with the best choice. They may even find that an air conditioning repair in Katy, TX will solve the problem—no need to make any replacements at all. We believe that comfort can cost less.

At AC Comfort, your comfort is our business. Schedule air conditioning repairs as soon as you need help.

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