The compressor is perhaps the most crucial part of your commercial air conditioning system. It turns the liquid refrigerant into cool air for the whole building. The compressor often goes out with a whimper rather than with a bang; it slowly decreases in function until it finally stops completely. Fortunately, this means that you'll usually have time to spot the signs of failure well before you have to shut down operations mid-day due to an air conditioner outage. Here are three clear indicators that your commercial air conditioner condenser is failing.
1. A Ticking Noise Upon Starting
A ticking noise coming from the air conditioner system is usually an indicator of compressor failure. This noise is usually most noticeable upon start-up, so you might notice it most clearly when the air conditioner is switched on for the first time each summer.
This ticking noise is often an indicator that the switch which triggers the compressor to start working is starting to fail. While the air conditioning system will still work in this situation, the odds are quite good that you won't be so fortunate next time. It's best to have your commercial HVAC provider to check the air conditioning system straight away.
2. A Clanking Sound
While the ticking noises described above are more subtle, a clanking noise is hard to miss. This noise can occur at any point whilst the air conditioning system is running, and it's typically sporadic rather than constant.
This clanking noise is often a sign that the mounts that stabilise the compressor motor have loosened enough to release the motor. With the motor free of the mounts, it clanks against its housing, quite possibly causing serious damage. It's best not to run the air conditioning system if you hear this noise, as the motor could be destroyed if it continues to bang about. Your HVAC professional can re-stabilise the motor and get the compressor working properly again.
3. A Chemical Leak
If you notice any type of chemical leaks on or around your commercial HVAC system, it's most likely a refrigerant leak that requires attention now. When the compressor initially starts to leak refrigerant, it may be a small enough amount that it doesn't impact your building's cool air. However, the leak is likely to increase as the compressor fails. Eventually, the compressor won't process refrigerant at all -- possibly leaking all of it out and leaving you with no air conditioning.
If you don't see your commercial HVAC system on a regular basis, you might notice that the building isn't as cool as it used to be before you actually spot the refrigerant leak. If the building is warmer than usual but you haven't touched the thermostat, have a look at the system to see if you notice any chemical leaks. This type of leak can often be repaired quickly and easily by your HVAC professional. However, if you wait until the leak is severe enough that the compressor has failed, you'll probably need a new compressor.
When you notice ticking, clanking, or leaking, contact your commercial HVAC specialist straight away. There's no reason that you should have to lose valuable time away from your business operations if you take care of these problems when they start.