The condenser unit and compressor work in tandem to transfer heat from exterior air and circulating interior air. To serve its intended purpose, the compressor must remain sealed throughout each cooling cycle, which is precisely why frequent replacements are required. Repairing parts that are sealed deep inside a complex mechanical device is a very difficult task.
Fortunately, however, there are some basic DIY steps you may take to prolong a compressor’s useful lifespan. Without proper maintenance, condensers and as well as most other AC components will eventually fail prematurely. When parts wear out and work less efficiently, an air conditioner’s blower motor and compressor begin working extra hard to cool. This creates a vicious cycle whereby overworked components become overheated and break down completely.
Air conditioner compressor replacement cost is very high. We recently noted several new 3-ton compressors and ancillary components with a total price tag of $2,500 to $3,000.
A simple HVAC system task that you can do yourself is checking your exterior unit shortly before summertime begins peak usage. I suggest hiring a reputable air conditioning service contractor for this task, but if you are confident in your ability to work safely around electrical parts, proceed with caution.
Prior to commencing any work on your air conditioning condenser, turn off the main electrical power supply breaker. Then, spin the fan by hand to see whether or not it rotates freely. Next, switch on the power and thermostat to determine if the fan frequently blows in an upwardly direction. A very common cause of condenser motor malfunction is bad bearings that prevent proper fan blade rotation.
The primary reason for condenser fan motor checks just prior to each season of highest demand is because the condenser and compressor are connected. Thus, if the fan should fail, it could overload the more costly compressor unit.
Excess dirt and foreign debris accumulation can decrease operating efficiency of both condenser and evaporator coils. Like other inefficient components, this triggers systemic compensation by overworking until key HVAC parts overheat beyond repair. The best remedy is routine condenser coil cleaning by an air conditioning expert.
If you opt for the DIY route, be certain to turn off both power breaker and thermostat, then unplug the condenser’s electric box before any cleaning begins. Apply spray-on cleansing solutions with high pressure to dislodge debris without denting fan blades or fins. A small amount of detergent might also be helpful.
The main idea is removing all possible obstructions to adequate airflow into the unit. This means cleaning the condenser as well as nearby external areas on a regular basis for maximum air circulation.