Our air conditioner's compressor seems to be running long after the fan
turns off. Tonight it ran for over 1 hour after the fan turned off.
Is this a sign of the compressor about to break or is there something I can
do to troubleshoot this problem? The air filter is clean and the unit is
dust and dirt free. It's mounted on our roof and we live in Arizona. What
is the typical life expectancy of an air compressor?
If you are talking about the inside fan (the one in the furnace / air
handler) then most likely you have a sticking contactor. Allowing the
compressor / condenser to continue running with no 'load' on it from the
evaporator (fan) isn't good for it, and will definitely shorten its
life. The contactor is inside the condensing unit and generally isn't
something that a homeowner should try to fix (high voltages and all
that). Time to call a professional.
I've seen published numbers for A/C life from eight to 15 years. I've
personally had well maintained systems go twenty years or more, but a
system of that vintage today is inefficient compared to what is
available now. At some point you are better off installing a new system
than continuing to have the old one repaired.
What you probably have is a stuck contactor. Ants, or other bugs commonly
get into these, and will at times get the unit stuck...or the contact points
arc and will tend to "weld" together as the points have worn past their
The problem at this point is not that its stuck, since its a relativly
simple repair, but what is happening to the compressor as its running with
no airflow over the indoor evaporator coil. You are actually creating what
we call a floodback condition, and in plain english what is happening is
that you are not getting refrigerant back to the compressor in a gassious
form, but in a liquid. When liquid refrigerant is being brought to the
compressor, you are risking damage to the valves, and the bearings, since
the oil is being washed away.
Air compressor? you mean your AC units compressor I am sure, since at no
time should there EVER be air in the compressor, or the refrigeration
Depending on the age of the current unit, 10-15 years, or till it breaks.
This is Turtle.
Your having a malifuction with the Condenser contactor or the some short in the
wiring 24 volt system. If your not handy with
electric equipment it might be better to have a service company look at it for the
sticking contactor in the condenser. Now this is
not a sign in anyway as to you have a bad compressor at all. You may understand me if
thing go a certain way.
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