I have an 11 year old Arcoaire ac unit. The other day we heard a pop sound and noticed a little smoking coming from the electrical whip casing. The part of the casing with the issue is about half between the cutoff box and the actual ac unit.

We noticed a small split in the casing, and this is where more popping and little smoke was coming from. Fearing an electrical fire, I quickly shot off power at the breaker.

My question is, does this sound like an issue that can damage or break the compressor? I don't want to replace the compressor, or likely the whole unit, if it's just an issue of replacing the wiring and electrical whip.

Any knowledge or advice would be most welcomed. Thanks.

1 Answer 1


Yes, your whip is bad and has shorted out. Since the casing is split it needs to be replaced. Your best bet is to remove the whip from the unit and bring it to an electrical supply store for replacement. You could try a home store but most of those people don't know how to change a light bulb. Once you remove the whip, try pulling the wires out of the casing and look for the burnt wire as confirmation to the problem.

  • 1
    You probably tripped a breaker or the sparked wire cleared itself from the fault. Your compressor should be OK but don't turn it on until you investigate and replace the whip
    – JACK
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 19:41
  • Thanks didn't notice the add comment link. The breaker never tripped, I went and shut it off pretty fast after seeing the smoke. Had a tech out and said the compressor needs replacing, but didn't think it should have been. Have my suspicions that it's just the wiring. Should I have another tech give a second opinion? Really appreciate your help, been without air for a week.
    – Jacob
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 20:31
  • do you have a separate air handler unit and compressor? If so, where does the whip go?
    – JACK
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 22:06
  • There's the unit in the attic, I thought that was the handler. Then there's the outside unit. The outside unit is what has the whip connected to an electrical box, for emergency shut off. The whip in question runs from the outside shutoff to the outside unit.
    – Jacob
    Commented Aug 29, 2020 at 22:40
  • I'm still trying to clear the issue up. Can the electrical whip cause compressor failure?
    – Jacob
    Commented Aug 31, 2020 at 20:16

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