All the components of your home’s central air conditioning system have important jobs. But one component has a special elevated status: the compressor. This is the engine of the entire AC, since it’s where energy is applied to the refrigerant to put it under pressure and then start the process of circulating through the system and moving heat from inside the home to outside.
The compressor uses the most electrical power of any part of the air conditioner (from 2,900 to 4,100 watts per hour) and it’s also expensive to replace if it burns out. The cost to replace a failed compressor is often costly enough that if the part is no longer under warranty it is more cost-effective to replace the entire air conditioning system.