Split AC Compressor Not Turning On: 5 Proven Solutions

Got a problem with your split AC compressor not turning on? It can be a bummer, especially when the summer heat is at its peak. But no worries, we’ve got you covered. This article will discuss common reasons why this happens and how you can diagnose the problem. Let’s decode this AC issue together, shall we?

Split AC Compressor Not Turning On
Photo by Martin Vorel

What Happens When the Compressor Doesn’t Turn On?

So, what’s the deal when the compressor isn’t turning on? Well, think of your AC as a refrigerated fan. Without the compressor, the ‘refrigerated’ part goes AWOL, leaving you with just a fan. An expensive one, at that! You’d probably get cooler by swinging a wet towel around your head!

Common Reasons Why Your Split AC Compressor is Not Turning On

Several culprits might be behind your AC compressor not starting, ranging from electrical issues to thermostat problems, refrigerant leaks, or dirty coils and filters. Identifying the root cause is the first step in fixing the problem.

Electrical Issues

One of the leading culprits behind a non-responsive compressor is electrical issues. It’s like your AC unit has lost its spark, literally.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

A tripped circuit breaker can be an AC’s kryptonite. If the breaker trips, your unit won’t get any juice. It’s like trying to start a car with a dead battery – ain’t gonna happen!

Faulty Capacitor

The capacitor is your compressor’s hype man, giving it the boost it needs to start up. So, when the capacitor goes on strike, you can bet your bottom dollar that the compressor will follow suit.

Thermostat Problems

A faulty thermostat can be like a misleading compass, sending the wrong signals to the compressor. This could result in the compressor refusing to kick in, as it believes it’s not needed. Miscommunication, eh?

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the lifeblood of your AC unit, and when it leaks, your compressor might stop out of self-preservation. It’s the equivalent of running your car on an empty tank – dangerous and damaging.

Dirty Coils or Filters

Dirty coils and filters? Not only are they a hygiene concern, but they could also block the cool air from reaching your room. It’s like running a marathon with a cloth over your mouth – restrictive and uncomfortable!

How to Diagnose a Split AC Compressor Not Turning On

Diagnosing a non-responsive AC compressor involves a systematic check of potential issues. From inspecting the power source to evaluating the refrigerant level, this step requires a keen eye for detail.

Checking the Power Source

Begin by checking the power source. It’s as simple as flipping a switch on your circuit breaker or checking if your AC plug is properly connected. Think of it as making sure the lights are on before starting a party.

Inspecting the Thermostat

Start by ensuring that your thermostat is set to the right temperature and mode – ideally to cooling mode with a set temperature lower than the current room temperature. Look out for any visible signs of damage or malfunction, such as a blank screen or unresponsive buttons.

If your thermostat is programmable, check if the schedule settings are correct. A wrongly set thermostat could mislead your AC system into thinking it doesn’t need to cool, hence not activating the compressor.

Evaluating the Refrigerant Level

The refrigerant level in your AC system can be a bit tricky to check on your own, as it requires specific tools and expertise. However, signs of low refrigerant levels can include a lack of cooling efficiency, a hissing sound indicating a leak, or ice formation on the AC components.

If you suspect a refrigerant issue, it’s best to call a professional to check and top up the refrigerant if needed, as mishandling can cause damage to the environment and your AC system.

Checking the Coils and Filters

Over time, your AC’s coils and filters can accumulate dust and grime, which can obstruct airflow and affect the compressor’s efficiency. Visually inspect these components for any dirt buildup.

Also, check if the filters are clogged or excessively dirty. If they appear blocked, it might be time for a cleaning or replacement session.

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Solutions for a Split AC Compressor Not Turning On

Depending on the identified problem, different solutions come into play. You might need to reset the circuit breaker, replace a faulty capacitor, address thermostat issues, fix refrigerant leaks, or clean/replace dirty coils and filters.

Resetting the Circuit Breaker

If your AC unit isn’t turning on, it might be due to a tripped circuit breaker. Locate your electrical panel, and find the switch labeled for your AC unit.

If it’s in the middle or ‘off’ position, switch it to ‘off’ and then flip it back to ‘on’. This will reset the circuit breaker, and if it was the issue, your AC compressor should now turn on.

Replacing a Faulty Capacitor

A faulty capacitor can stop your compressor from starting up. Capacitors store electrical energy for the compressor to start and run, so a faulty one can be a significant obstacle.

However, replacing a capacitor involves handling high-voltage components and should be done by a professional. A technician will disconnect the faulty capacitor and install a new one in its place, then test your AC to ensure it’s now functioning correctly.

Fixing Thermostat Issues

If the thermostat is at fault, you might need to recalibrate it or replace it altogether. If it’s a simple mechanical thermostat, it may need to be leveled correctly to function.

A programmable thermostat could require a battery replacement, a reset, or a check on the programming. If the problem persists, it might need replacing, preferably by a trained technician.

Addressing Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks can affect the cooling efficiency of your AC and can lead to compressor damage. These leaks should be addressed as soon as possible.

A professional technician will locate the leak, repair the hole or replace the leaking component, and then recharge your AC system with the correct amount of refrigerant. Keep in mind that topping off the refrigerant without fixing the leak is a temporary solution and not advisable.

Cleaning or Replacing Dirty Coils and Filters

Cleaning dirty coils and filters can be a DIY job if you’re comfortable doing it.

Turn off your AC, and carefully clean the coils with a soft brush or special coil cleaner available in the market. Rinse gently with a hose, avoiding any electrical components. For filters, remove them and clean using soapy water or replace them if they’re damaged or very dirty. Reinstall the cleaned or new components and turn your AC back on.

Cleaning or replacing dirty coils and filters not only resolves current issues but also extends your AC’s lifespan.

When to Call a Professional

When should you call the professionals? Let’s find out…

Identifying Complex Issues

If you’ve tried everything, but your split AC compressor is still not turning on, it might be time to call in the experts. They can uncover issues that might not be apparent to us laymen.

Benefits of Professional Servicing

And don’t forget, professional servicing can not only solve your current issue but also prevent potential ones. It’s a bit like going to the dentist regularly – preventive and essential for health.

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