The AC compressor is that part of the air conditioning system that pressurizes the refrigerant. A refrigerant under pressure will absorb heat from the surrounding air, causing your home to become cooler. One cannot overstretch the importance of the compressor in your AC.
When the compressor breaks down, you should ask an AC repair service to fix it before the problem necessitates a full system overhaul. How then do you know if the compressor is failing? Here are some signs to watch out for:
The compressor will not turn on
You might first notice that your home becomes too hot and the AC does not regulate the temperature as it should. Upon checking the indoor unit, you might find the fan to be all right. You notice that even if there is power going to the fan, the compressor seems dead. When this happens, you might want to lower the thermostat and see if the compressor turns on. Should it fail, you need an AC expert to tell you the next course of action.
Warm air from the system
Sometimes the condenser appears to be working fine, but you only get warm air off the system. This can point to the fact that there is a problem with the compressor. A faulty compressor will not pump the refrigerant to the system. Note that warm air can also be a symptom of other issues in the system, such as a leak.
A tripping circuit breaker
Sometimes, the problem with the compressor might first show in the circuit breaker. If you notice that it keeps tripping, it could mean that the compressor is overheating, which then draws excess power and causes the trip. It is an unwise decision to keep resetting the system without having it checked. In other words, it is a potential fire hazard.
Vibration upon starting
If you notice that the unit vibrates upon powering it up, it might point to a compressor that is likely to malfunction. Hard starting is equivalent to problems powering up. That is what happens before a full-blown failure.
A noisy condenser
If you notice that your AC unit producing more noise than it usually would, it can be a cause for alarm. It can be a failing fan motor or a failure in another electrical component. Often, a dislodged part that rattles will interfere with the compressor and cause problems.
In the end, HVAC systems are often very complicated. What starts as a problem in one area can ripple to affect the whole system. For example, you could notice that the AC fails in just one room. Such a question is easy to ignore until your system racks up energy bills and delivers no temperature control. Do not make the mistake of assuming that an issue with the compressor will fix itself. An excellent place to begin is to sign a maintenance contract from a reliable repair service. They will be able to inspect your AC regularly and fix issues before they escalate.