CAC compressor overheating?

I just happen to be at the side of my house yesterday and I noticed on my 19 year old Carrier unit the fan was running but not the compressor. About 10 seconds later the compressor came on and ran continuosly with no problem. I have never seen this before.My house has been staying cool. The system is properly charged. A friend told me the thermal overload on the compressor could have caused it to go out. And he also suggested to me to clean the coil with a water hose as the coils might be clogged up, causing the compressor to overheat. Is there any other reason why the compressor would cut out? And also is it a good idea to clean the coil with a hose?
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When was the last time the system was serviced?

It's a good idea to get the system serviced. And yes, you can clean the coil with a hose, but be careful not to bend the fins or do it when the unit if running.
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It was serviced a month ago. I did not notice the coils getting flushed. But it was checked for freon with guages and it was good.
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Sounds like the compressor is going bad. Just changed out a VERY similar unit on one of my rental properties. Call the company who serviced it for their opinion, but it sounds like it is time to replace it. The other important thing to note is that the efficiency standard is going up as of January 1st, 2006. This means that you can still replace the unit with a 10 SEER unit this year, but would need to go with a 13 SEER (much more expensive) unit next year. Obviously, it might make sense to go with the more efficient unit, this is just food for thought.
JK
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Cleaining with a hose may just impact more debris into the coil, particularly since you state its 19 years old...sheesh man...its past its life expectancy..things that are not serviced regularly break...and things that are run past their normal life span will fail.
The compressor does have a thermal overlimit switch in it, but that unit might also have a low pressure switch, or a high pressure cut out switch that COULD remove the compressor from the line and allow the fan to run. Suggest that this is NOT a DIY repair, and that if you are worried about it, to call in a licenced pro.
A proper coil clean will involve a foaming cleaner that in most states, the un-licenced can not buy direct.
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