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Three Things You Need To Know About Your HVAC Compressor

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A well-maintained compressor helps your household air conditioning unit run more efficiently and increases its lifespan. Every homeowner should know how to check the basic components of their HVAC air compressor. Here's what you need to know how to do:

Check the Air Filter 

The air filter is typically located in the air handler or furnace, or in a slot near the return air grille. Here's what you need to do:

  • Remove the air filter from its housing. Some filters are held in place with clips or a frame, while others simply slide out.
  • Inspect the air filter. If the filter is visibly dirty or clogged with debris, it should be replaced.
  • If the filter is not visibly dirty, hold it up to a light source to check for blockages and replace it if the light does not pass through the filter easily.
  • If the air filter is clean and not clogged, it can be reinstalled. Make sure it is seated properly in its housing and that the edges are sealed to prevent air from bypassing the filter.

Check the Lubricant

Refer to the owner's manual for information on the type and amount of lubricant to use. Different compressors may require different types of lubricant, so it is important to follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Locate the compressor's lubrication points. These are typically marked with a small oil cup or a label indicating where lubricant should be applied.
  • If the oil level is low, add lubricant to the compressor until it reaches the recommended level. If the compressor has an oil filler cap, use a funnel to prevent spills
  • Replace the oil filler cap or dipstick, and wipe away any excess lubricant.
  • Run the compressor for a few minutes to circulate the lubricant.

Check the Belt

Follow these steps to check the belt on your AC compressor:

  • Look for a belt running around the compressor. It may be hidden by a belt guard or other protective cover.
  • If you can see the belt, inspect it for any signs of wear or damage. Look for cracks, frays, or missing sections of the belt.
  • Check the tension of the belt. It should be tight enough that it doesn't slip or sag, but not so tight that it causes excessive strain on the compressor.
  • If the belt appears to be in good condition, replace any protective covers and close up the air conditioning unit.
  • If the belt appears to be damaged or excessively worn, or if it is not properly tensioned, you'll need to replace it. This is a job that is best left to a professional, as it requires specialized tools and knowledge.

Although it's important for homeowners to know how to do these things for themselves, keep in mind that nothing beats a regular inspection by a professional air conditioning service to keep your HVAC system running smoothly and efficiently. 

To learn more, contact a company like Priority Heating and Air.