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Do Heat Pump Compressors Get Weak Over Time?

Have you ever wondered if heat pump compressors get weak over time? Probably not. In fact, many homeowners don’t give their HVAC systems a second thought unless something goes wrong. A failing heat pump compressor is one of the most common reasons a heat pump will quit working. Understanding how compressors work can give you a better idea of when it’s time to invest in repairs and replacements. It can also help ensure you are cooling and heating your Pinson, Alabama, home with the utmost efficiency.

How to Tell if the Heat Pump Compressor Is Going Bad

Compressors do get weak over an extended period of time. The more you run the heat pump, the more wear and tear the compressor is going to endure. With professional maintenance from an experienced HVAC contractor, you can extend the life of the compressor and the entire unit.

Tell-tale signs that a compressor is going bad include:

  • The compressor won’t turn on
  • The AC isn’t blowing cold air
  • The AC keeps tripping the breaker
  • Outside unit shakes severely when turning on
  • Outside unit is making weird noises

Many of the symptoms of a failing heat pump compressor are subtle, like diminished airflow. The cold air produced by the air conditioner is actually generated by the compressor. When the compressor starts to weaken, this causes the unit to struggle in producing cold air on a constant basis. You may notice times when it does a good job at keeping your home cool and other times when it seems to be blowing only warm or hot air. Any time you notice diminished airflow, it’s important to contact a professional HVAC contractor right away.

The outside unit is likely to vibrate a bit when it first turns on. Essentially, it’s like the unit is coming alive. After a few seconds, though, any loud noises and shaking should stop. If you notice it shakes a lot every time the unit comes on, this is a sign the compressor is going bad and it could lead to complete heat pump failure if you don’t fix the problem. A professional contractor can inspect the system to see what’s wrong.

Much of the time, it’s cheaper to replace the compressor rather than the whole system. This only applies, though, if it is only the compressor that needs replacing. If other parts need to be replaced, you may want to consider replacing the entire unit, particularly if the unit is more than 15 years old.

How Long Should the Heat Pump Compressor Last?

Compressors are very reliable, especially in today’s modern heat pump systems. Most of them last anywhere from 12 to 15-plus years. Most times, if the compressor goes bad, this means there is some type of underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Proper maintenance is key to extending the life of the compressor. This type of maintenance can help prevent the following.

Refrigerant Leak Into the Compressor

The evaporator on the unit vaporizes some of the refrigerant but not all of it. Improper settings combined with refrigerant overcharging can cause the liquid to leak back into the compressor, which can lead to complete failure. Sometimes, it’s just the compressor that goes bad.

Loss of Lubrication

When the oil leaks into the compressor, this causes oil contamination, which eventually results in major damage. If you suspect there is oil leaking from the unit, you need to have it inspected as soon as possible.

Motor Mounts Are Loose

If you ever notice a clicking noise when the AC kicks on, this could mean the compressor motor mounts are loose. When this happens, the motor to the compressor will become disconnected and start banging on the inside of the compressor. This is another issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Not only can it lead to complete failure of the AC unit, but it can also cause your energy bills to skyrocket.

One Source Heating, Cooling & Electrical specializes in quality heat pump installation and repair services. Contact us today by visiting our website or give us a call at 334-203-3466.

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