AC Compressor Starts Then Shuts Off: 4 Causes & Proven Fixes

Have you ever had that moment where your AC compressor starts then shuts off? Well, if you’re here, it’s a good bet you have. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into this issue.

AC Compressor Starts Then Shuts Off
Photo by Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez

Identifying the Problem: AC Compressor Starts Then Shuts Off

If your AC compressor’s acting like a petulant kid, starting up and then suddenly deciding it’s had enough, there might be a few things going on. And it’s not always as straightforward as it might seem.

Common Signs and Symptoms

One of the first things you might notice is that the AC isn’t cooling like it used to. Then there’s the obvious – the compressor kicking in and out like it’s doing the hokey pokey. Sometimes you might even hear a humming sound from the unit. All signs that your compressor might be feeling a bit under the weather.

Common Causes and Solutions of an AC Compressor that Starts and Stops

There are a few usual suspects when it comes to your AC compressor starting and stopping. Let’s take a look at them, shall we?

Faulty or Weak Capacitor

The capacitor in your AC system is a bit like a sprinter on the starting blocks – it gives your compressor the kick it needs to get going. If it’s not in top form, your compressor might struggle to get started or shut off prematurely.

Identifying a Faulty Capacitor

If your AC is making a humming sound, or the compressor is trying to start but just can’t quite get there, you might be looking at a faulty capacitor. It’s worth checking out.

Fixing a Faulty Capacitor

If you’re feeling brave, you can replace a capacitor yourself. Just make sure you know what you’re doing, and always turn off the power first! If you’re not so comfortable with it, don’t be shy about calling in a professional.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Think of the condenser coils like the lungs of your AC. If they’re clogged up with dirt and debris, they can’t do their job properly, and your compressor might shut off to protect itself.

Identifying Dirty Condenser Coils

If you’re seeing little to no water being produced by your AC, or the unit is unusually warm, it might be time to check those coils.

Cleaning Dirty Condenser Coils

Cleaning your condenser coils is a bit like brushing your teeth – it’s all about regular maintenance. A bit of mild detergent and warm water usually does the trick. But don’t be afraid to call in the pros if things look a bit gnarly.

Refrigerant Leaks

Leaking refrigerant is a bit like having a slow puncture in your tire – your AC can keep going for a while, but eventually, it’s going to struggle. And when it does, that compressor is likely to start and stop.

Detecting a Refrigerant Leak

Spotting a refrigerant leak isn’t always easy, but if your AC’s not cooling and the compressor’s playing up, it might be worth a look. Be careful though, this stuff isn’t something you want to mess with without proper training.

Fixing a Refrigerant Leak

Fixing a refrigerant leak isn’t a job for amateurs. If you suspect a leak, it’s definitely time to call in the experts. Trust me, it’s not worth the risk.

Defective Thermostat

If your thermostat’s on the fritz, it could be sending the wrong signals to your compressor, causing it to start and stop. A bit like having a dodgy sat-nav, right?

Identifying a Defective Thermostat

If your AC seems to have a mind of its own, it might be your thermostat causing the trouble. If it’s older or you’ve had issues before, it might be time to take a closer look.

Replacing a Defective Thermostat

Replacing a thermostat isn’t too tough. It’s a bit like changing a light bulb but with a few more wires. But if you’re not confident, there’s no shame in calling in the cavalry.

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When to Seek Professional Help

If you’re out of your depth or the problem persists, it might be time to raise the white flag and call in a professional. There’s no point sweating it out – literally – when help is just a phone call away.

Evaluating the Severity of the Issue

If you’ve done your checks and things still aren’t right, it’s time to make that call. Remember, it’s always better to get things sorted sooner rather than later. You don’t want a small problem to become a full-blown disaster, do you?

Selecting the Right AC Professional

Choosing the right professional is a bit like choosing a good mechanic. You want someone who knows their stuff, isn’t going to rip you off, and can get the job done right. A bit of research can go a long way.

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