Why Won’t My AC Compressor Turn On?

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You may have been there before—you come home from a long day at work and all you want to do is relax in the cool comfort of your home. As you walk through the door however, you’re greeted with a burst of warm air and find your air conditioner’s compressor won’t turn on. Air conditioners seem to malfunction at the most inopportune times and as a homeowner it can be frustrating when they do, especially in a climate like Florida’s. While there are numerous factors that can cause an AC system to falter, the culprit could be the compressor.

What Does an AC Compressor Do?

A compressor is a vital part of an air conditioning system—the rest of the system can’t function without it! To put it simply, the AC compressor works to move refrigerant through the appliance. As the compressor moves refrigerant, it compresses (hence the name) the cold gas until it becomes hot and pressurized. The heat is then transferred outside, which cools your home in the process.

Troubleshooting AC Compressor Issues

The process of cooling cannot begin if the compressor won’t turn on, so knowing how to troubleshoot common compressor issues is the key to keeping your air conditioner running. While some problems will require the help of a professional, here are some things you can check for yourself:

  • Check the power supply. When your AC compressor won’t turn on, check to see that it’s receiving power. This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the biggest catalysts of compressor problems is power—or the lack of power. It’s always possible that a fuse has blown or the breaker has been tripped.
  • Check for refrigerant leaks. Think of refrigerant and the compressor as best friends who can’t function without one another. The compressor works in conjunction with refrigerant to cool while simultaneously removing heat. When the refrigerant levels drop too low due to a leak or other issue, the compressor won’t start. This is an easy issue to troubleshoot though—simply locate the refrigerant gauge and check to see if it’s at the recommended level. If you find the levels are low, contact a professional to address the problem.
  • Check the valves. If the compressor won’t start, it could be a valve issue. The refrigerant is transported through a series of valves that can break over time. If a valve is broken, the refrigerant won’t be turned into a gas before it reaches the compressor inlet. Luckily, broken valves are an easy fix and replacing them typically resolves the issue.

While some compressor issues may be resolved without a professional, more serious issues will require the help of a trained technician from One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater. At One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater, our number one priority is your home’s comfort which is why we will quickly and efficiently diagnose and fix any problems with your AC’s compressor. For all of your HVAC needs, contact One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Clearwater today and be sure to read more about AC troubleshooting here.