What Makes an HVAC Compressor Fail?

What Makes an HVAC Compressor Fail?

Are you a homeowner looking to learn more about what impacts the health of your HVAC system? Have you ever experienced an unexpected breakdown in the midst of extreme temperatures? If so, something likely went wrong with your HVAC compressor. But understanding why and how these components fail can be difficult without knowing the underlying factors, which is exactly what we’ll cover in this blog post. We’ll take an in-depth look into how an HVAC compressor works, common reasons for failure, and steps you can take to ensure long-term performance for years to come. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us as we explore all things related to HVAC compressors.

What Is an HVAC System?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. In a nutshell, HVAC systems work to maintain the temperature in your home by filtering out pollutants and supplying fresh outside air when needed. For homeowners, HVAC systems typically consist of separate components, such as forced-air HVAC units or gas furnaces, combined with an outdoor cooling system, such as central AC units or evaporative coolers.

The main HVAC unit typically runs through a network of ductwork and registers that circulate air in the building using a fan motor while the compressor sends cooled air back into the home via air vents. HVAC systems are crucial to ensuring comfort in homes all year round by regulating temperatures.

What Is an HVAC Compressor?

What Is an HVAC Compressor?

First, let’s start by breaking down HVAC compressor basics. HVAC compressors are the real unsung heroes of any HVAC system, and homeowners should take care to ensure they’re in tip-top shape. HVAC compressors work hard to regulate the temperature in our homes by transferring heat and cooling load throughout the HVAC system.

As a homeowner, it’s important to recognize that temperatures would be unbearable and inconsistent throughout your home without an HVAC compressor. The HVAC compressor takes refrigerant gas, compresses it, and then pumps it through the HVAC system, where it releases energy, expelling heat from your home in the summer while keeping warm air inside during cold winter months. It’s critical for homeowners to establish regular maintenance processes for their HVAC compressors – like replacing filters or topping up fluid levels – to maintain efficient HVAC systems that work around the clock.

What Are Some Causes of Compressor Failure?

Now that we understand some of the fundamentals behind HVAC compressors, let’s move on to discuss potential causes for failure. There are a few common reasons why HVAC compressors may malfunction or cease working altogether.


One of the most common reasons for HVAC compressors to fail is overheating. When an HVAC system overheats, it puts a great deal of stress on the compressor, which can cause it to fail. If your HVAC system is overheating, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible to avoid compressor failure.

Dirty Coils

Dirty coils are another common cause of HVAC compressor failure. The coils in an HVAC system are responsible for transferring heat from the air inside the home to the outside air. If these coils become dirty, they will be less effective at transferring heat, which can cause the compressor to overheat and fail.

Leaking Refrigerant

Leaking refrigerant is another common cause of HVAC compressor failure. When an HVAC system leaks refrigerant, it puts great stress on the compressor, which can cause it to fail. If you think your HVAC system may be leaking refrigerant, it is important to have it checked by a professional as soon as possible.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are another common cause of HVAC compressor failure. The compressor in an HVAC system is powered by electricity, and if there are any problems with the electrical supply, it can cause the compressor to fail. If you suspect that there may be an electrical issue with your HVAC system, it is important to have it checked by a professional as soon as possible.

Lack of Maintenance

Another common reason for HVAC compressors to fail is lack of maintenance. HVAC systems require regular maintenance in order to function properly. This includes things like changing the air filter and having the system serviced by a professional. If you do not maintain your HVAC system, it is more likely to break down, which can lead to compressor failure.

HVAC Maintenance Tips

HVAC Maintenance Tips

Speaking of maintenance, there are many proactive steps you can take to ensure that your HVAC compressor stays in good health and working order for years to come. To start, be sure to regularly change out air filters and inspect the wiring system for any potential issues. Additionally, replacing refrigerant levels is important if they become low – a process best left up to experienced HVAC technicians. Finally, be sure not to overload your HVAC compressor by using too many heating/cooling appliances at once, as this may cause it to burn itself out prematurely.


In conclusion, HVAC compressors are essential components of a heating and cooling system that work to regulate the air temperature inside your home. A range of factors can lead to HVAC compressor failure, including faulty wiring, refrigerant leaks, dirty filters, blocked lines, lack of maintenance, and being overworked. To ensure long-term performance and protect against unexpected breakdowns, it’s important to perform regular maintenance tasks such as changing out air filters and inspecting the wiring system, as well as replacing any low refrigerant levels with help from HVAC technicians. By following these tips, you can feel confident in the health of your HVAC compressor for many years to come.