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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    107

    Was This The Sound of Compressor Death?

    My daughter phoned me this morning to get the name of the HVAC company that had replaced my complete heating and AC system about 5 years ago.

    Yesterday, my daugher and son-in-law were outside doing some landscaping work when the outside compressor unit, according to my daughter's description, suddenly started emitting a loud shrill sound similar to a siren for a few minutes and then just gave up the ghost and died. She asked me if I thought the compressor was shot.

    Since she will plan to take off work early on Wednesday afternoon this week, my daughter said she was going to schedule for an HVAC contractor to come out that afternoon to give her an estimate on a complete replacement of one of the two heating/air systems for her home - the once with the howling compressor.

    Having never heard what a dying compressor sounds like, I'm posting just to get an opinion on whether this sounds like a compressor, or not? Or is the problem likely something else. I'm just wondering until the HVAC people get a chance to look at it

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,677
    Quote Originally Posted by mcginkleschmidt View Post

    Yesterday, my daugher and son-in-law were outside doing some landscaping work when the outside compressor unit, according to my daughter's description, suddenly started emitting a loud shrill sound similar to a siren for a few minutes and then just gave up the ghost and died. She asked me if I thought the compressor was shot.
    The most direct answer is

    maybe

    Could be the condenser fan motor has a bad bearing and finally seized up effectively stopping the a/c

    Could be the compressor has lost enough of it's oil and has seized effectively stopping the a/c

    Could be the neighbor's hound dog in heat

    Have her get someone out to evaluate the system and to leave it off until they do.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,591
    Could be.

    As above, she should have it checked, to see if its really dead.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    North Florida
    Posts
    42

    Squeeling

    Could be a fan motor or compressor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    332
    Could be a dirty condensor coil and the compressor is relieving the high pressure internally. I've heard some make some pretty loud noises when they do that. Could be what the others have said as well.
    Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NW burbs of Detroit
    Posts
    6,058
    Quote Originally Posted by iwannahelp View Post
    Could be a dirty condensor coil and the compressor is relieving the high pressure internally. I've heard some make some pretty loud noises when they do that. Could be what the others have said as well.
    That's my thoughts too. But like the man said, there is no way to tell for sure from here.

    If it is relieving pressure internally the compressor probably shut off on internal overload, that's a safety to stop it from blowing up or overheating to the point of compressor failure.

    There a plethora of different component failures that can cause this.

    As already stated the condenser fan motor may have failed. This will result in an objectionable elevation of heat with in the system accompanied by huge leaps in freon pressure.


    Also a badly dirtied up condenser will cause this same symptom, although rarely on a residential system.

    When the compressor has cooled sufficiently
    If the unit is left off to cool the safety will reset after the heat and pressure have dissipated.

    If so then the common finale would be a failed condenser fan motor.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    107
    As the originator of this thread I wanted to post a followup. My son-in-law had two people out to quote a replacement for the AC/furnace since he had basically decided to replace one of the two systems in his 5000sf house, the one that is not running.

    The second guy to come out offered to look at the outside compressor unit in case he wanted to get the system back to running until he decides to replace it. The guy found the system had tripped the outside switch and when the switch was turned on the compressor, a Heil unit, started to run but the fan was not spinning. He said the problem was either a bad capacitor or a bad fan motor. The guy swapped the capacitor with a new one and still the fan would not spin so he reconnected the old capacitor.

    The guy priced a replacement fan motor but my son-in-law has since decided not to throw good money after bad as the new fan motor replacement was many hundreds of dollars. He will probably be making the decision to replace one entire system replaced in a matter of days. The weather has cooled in metro Atlanta so the second system is keeping the home tolerable and it will be a few weeks before heat will be needed.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NW burbs of Detroit
    Posts
    6,058
    So you got the "happy ending".

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