Air Compressor Trouble Shooting
Before you repair the air compressor on your refrigerator or call Atlas Services to make the repairs for you, it’s wise to know what happens when the compressor stops working properly. Think of the compressor as the brain or the heart of the refrigerator. Without this essential component, then the refrigerator won’t keep anything cold or frozen. The compressor is located in the bottom of the refrigerator on most newer units. It keeps the motor and the compressor acting as a single component instead of two different pieces to the puzzle. The job of the compressor is to compress the refrigerant in the unit before sending to other parts of the appliance, similar to how a heart pumps blood through the body. The refrigerant is sent to the coils at the back of the appliance in most units before the heat is then exchanged with the air in the environment.
A sign that the compressor is failing is that it will constantly run. The compressor should only come on when more refrigerant is needed to keep the unit cool. The refrigerator and freezer won’t reach the temperature that they are set at even though the compressor runs all the time. This can mean an increase in the monthly utility bill and a loss of refrigerant in the unit as it’s being used more often. The valves could also be failing on the compressor. We can come to the home to check the valves to see if they are damaged, can be repaired or need to be replaced.
If the circuit breaker for the refrigerator keeps tripping, then it could mean that the compressor is failing as it is running too much and using too much power. Electric motors will draw about five to six times the normal operating current when they first start to work. If the compressor continues to use this much power, then the breaker can trip because it’s overworked. Older appliances often require longer times for the compressor to reach normal operating speed, which also results in the breaker tripping. Atlas Services will examine the breaker to determine what issues you’re dealing with as they relate to the refrigerator and the compressor.
There’s nothing like walking into the kitchen to hear the worst possible sound that you can’t seem to pinpoint. One of the signs that you can look for if you think that the air compressor is going out is a loud noise. It will sound almost like a rattling cage at times. This loud sound is often the bearings going out or the valves. As the bearings begin to wear out more each time the compressor is on, more power will be required to operate the unit, which will then lead to the circuit tripping as well. Another sign that you can look for is a burning smell. It’s similar to what you might smell if your car would be burning oil. The refrigerator will usually be warm to the touch. Sometimes, you might see small spots of oil on the floor as the bearings begin to fail. We can look underneath the refrigerator to see what kind of fluid might be present. There could also be water on the floor as the refrigerator doesn’t stay cold enough and because it’s difficult for the refrigerant and water in the system to circulate properly while staying inside the unit.
There is a fan in the compressor. This is a part that often stops working. It’s a part that the unit can’t operate properly without as it prevents the refrigerator from overheating. When the fan stops working, it will keep the unit from cooling. It could also mean that there aren’t any sounds at all coming from the compressor since the fan doesn’t come on properly. We can get the fan fixed since it’s inside the compressor, potentially saving you from needing to get a new refrigerator.
Sometimes, the compressor will click on and off in rapid succession before it goes out. You can often hear the compressor clicking, especially if there are no other sounds in the room at the time. You can check the start relay to see if this part has gone out, which would mean a less expensive repair. There could also be some kind of strain on the compressor that causes it to come on and off in short bursts. An amp meter can be used to determine if there is more electricity going to the compressor than is needed to operate the unit. This is another issue that is often easy to fix as you usually just need to clean the relay.
New refrigerators usually don’t see a lot of issues with the air compressor going bad. However, anything could happen. If you notice any of these signs with a newer unit, you need to contact the manufacturer or the store where you bought the appliance to see if there is any kind of warranty. If not, then you need to call around to several different repair companies to get the best rate possible because it could be less expensive to buy a new refrigerator instead of repairing the one that you have, especially if the parts that are needed are hard to find. Contact us to set up a time when we can come to the home to take a look at the compressor so that we have a better idea as to what might be going on with the unit.