The most common causes of air conditioning condenser problems

Air conditioning units are complex systems that include an evaporator, compressor, and condenser in addition to fans, ducts, and registers. Most systems consist of two separate units, one located inside your home, and the other located outside. Oppositely, packaged systems include everything in one unit.

In both systems, the condenser houses the compressor, a blower fan, and the condenser coil, as well as motors and capacitors to supply power to the components. The condenser is where condensation occurs to release heat to the outdoors. As you can imagine, a malfunction in the condenser means problems for the entire system, possibly even severe damage that can stop the air conditioner’s ability to cool down a house.

Often times, these issues can be prevented. Here are some of the most common causes of air conditioning condenser problems.


In split systems, the condenser is located outside of your house. Because of this, it can sometimes experience damage from stones, leaves, and sticks getting into the unit. Even packaged units can suck things from the outside. Any outside elements that enter the condenser cabinet can cause damage to the motors, the fan blades, and the fan belt, impairing condenser operation.

Electrical Issues

Since electricity powers the fans and motors inside the condenser that operate the compressor, any malfunction or outage will create a problem. Unless you have tripped a breaker, the compressor failing to turn on is often an electrical issue, as is fan failure. Additionally, malfunctions with the wiring inside the motors can cause the components to stop working, completely hindering the cooling process. It is probably best to reach out to an HVAC professional to diagnose any electrical problems that are affecting the compressor.


Refrigerant is the compound in cooling units that absorbs the heat and humidity from the air in your home. The condenser connects to the indoor evaporator through a line that circulates the refrigerant between the two units to transfer the air. If the line has a leak, the process cannot be carried out effectively and puts the entire system in danger. Refrigerant leaks can also occur along the condenser coil or at the connection to the compressor.

Overlooked, malfunctions in the condenser will grow worse and may even threaten to cause complete compressor failure. If you notice a drop in cooling power, hear a hissing noise, or notice frost along the unit, it is time to Contact Service First for a repair.