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Why is My AC Compressor Not Turning On?

The Dallas summers can be unrelenting, especially when your AC compressor fails.

There are several reasons why your AC compressor might not be turning on. We’ll suggest some things you can try on your own, and discuss when it’s time to call an air conditioning pro for help. 

Read on to learn what causes your AC compressor to malfunction and also how to maintain it properly.

How Can I Tell If My AC Compressor Is Not Turning On?

Several factors can make it difficult for you to discern if your compressor has failed or simply not powering on. Here are some ways to tell if your AC issues are likely caused by the compressor itself.

  1. Your circuit breaker trips while running your AC.
  2. You can’t hear the compressor (your air conditioner will be very quiet)
  3. Warm, dry air is blowing from your vents or the unit fan
  4. There are strange noises, rattling, and shaking from your outdoor AC unit
  5. The compressor suddenly stops or “seizes” altogether

The AC unit’s compressor is a central part of your air conditioning equipment. If it malfunctions, a local AC technician is needed to assess the issue. Due to it being a vital part, a repair might be possible but replacement might make more financial sense in the end. 

Of course, catching the problem early and repairing your AC before the issue becomes worse can save time and money in the long run.

What are the Causes of AC Compressor Malfunction?

When turning on your AC, the fan might run before the compressor kicks in. This could mean the compressor isn’t receiving proper power. This could be a wiring issue, and a safety concern for homeowners to attempt to troubleshoot this. It’s best to call an HVAC technician for further guidance.

1. Problems with the Capacitor And Starter Relay

The starter relays and capacitors are essential for supplying power to the compressor in an HVAC system because they make all systems work in unison. Capacitors provide power to the compressor, the blower motor, and the outer fan motor. 

When a starter relay does not work, the compressor will try to access any capacitor. If the issue lies with the capacitor and starter relay, these are the easiest fix. Replacement parts might be economical versus looking at a complete replacement. 

2. Dirty Filters and Coils

When dirt and debris build up in the unit, such as in the condenser, it can cause the whole machine to stop. A clogged air filter can decrease the airflow causing your system to blow warmer air, but it can also cause the compressor to overheat and shut down. 

The best-case scenario is that the compressor shuts down before it damages itself. Keep the condensing unit clean by clearing any obstructed vents and replace your air filters on a regular basis to eliminate this in the future.

3. No Power

If you can hear the fan in your AC running, but the compressor has ceased working, there is a good chance that your compressor has no power. The central unit will continue to function even if there is no power in the compressor unit. You should check if you have a tripped circuit breaker, a blown fuse, or a connection issue.

There are many other potential causes behind why your AC compressor is not working. These include a faulty thermostat or mismatched indoor vs. outdoor units. It may also be that your AC system is outdated and needs replacement.

4. Improper Maintenance or System Negligence 

Regular maintenance service of an HVAC system is the best preventative measure since it solves most issues before they become a problem. AC compressors are made of many different parts and can be replaced.  However, when the compressor is over 10 years old, it is usually better to reduce the entire outdoor condensing unit.

Regular inspections allow a failed component to be identified quickly and replaced, which keeps the risk of having a more expensive problem at bay.

5. Worst Case Scenario: The Compressor is Dead

A dead compressor can result from overheating or a malfunctioning capacitor. If the compressor is going bad or already dead, you will need a professional HVAC technician to replace the compressor for you. At Diamond Blue Air, we are experienced with manufacturer warranties and will guide you in the best economical decisions when it comes to repair vs. replacement.

The Lifespan of an AC Compressor

The AC compressor pumps refrigerant through the AC system for it to operate. The compressor first compresses the refrigerant into a gas. It then flows from the outdoor condensing unit to the indoor equipment, absorbing heat along the way. Any cooled air remaining gets pumped back into the room and the refrigerant cycles the unwanted heat back to the outside condensing unit. 

Mechanical AC compressor problems are common. Many times the AC compressor unit overheats and malfunctions. With proper maintenance, the AC compressor can efficiently remove heat from the room. 

AC compressors should last 10-15 years. Unfortunately, improper maintenance can lead to wear and tear, which forces the system to work harder than it should. Extended air conditioner use without proper care can lead to leaking and worn-out parts. This will eventually damage your air conditioning unit.

Getting Your AC Compressor Fixed and Running Properly

Dallas-Fort Worth homeowners know how often their HVAC system runs, and it’s only natural for it to break down. Luckily, homeowners can call a trusted AC repair specialist to get their system running quickly again.

If you’re unfortunate enough to experience a problem with your AC system, including the compressor, don’t worry! Our professionals are here to fix the problem for you. The sooner issues are caught, the better your chances of avoiding unnecessary damage to your system and discomfort to your family. 

Whether you need HVAC repair or replacement, we are here. Call Diamond Blue Air to schedule an appointment for your AC maintenance.

Contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff if you live in the Irving or DFW greater area.

Call 469-200-3100 to schedule a compressor repair or system maintenance today.

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