Split AC Compressor Not Working But Fan Is Running: [Fixed]

The focus of our attention in this article is the puzzling case of the split AC compressor not working but fan is running. As surprising as it sounds, this scenario is no stranger to many households. This guide will detail the common culprits and help you troubleshoot the problem effectively.

Split AC Compressor Not Working But Fan is Running
Photo by Martin Vorel

Brief Summary of the Issue: Split AC Compressor Not Working but Fan is Running

This situation arises when the fan in your AC continues to run, but the compressor, which is responsible for the actual cooling, does not function. Essentially, you have a system where the airflow is intact, but the air is not cooled.

Quick Answer to the Search Intent

The split AC compressor not working but fan is running can be traced back to electrical or mechanical issues. These include an insufficient power supply, faulty wiring, compressor lock, refrigerant leakage, or even neglected routine maintenance. Resolving the issue might require simple DIY troubleshooting or professional assistance, depending on its complexity.

Identifying the Problem

Identification is the first step toward resolution. When your split AC compressor is not working, there are key signs you need to look for. Let’s get into the specifics of what you might observe when facing this issue.

Symptoms of a Non-Working AC Compressor in a Split AC

When the compressor is non-operational, your AC’s performance is greatly hampered. You may notice that the AC isn’t cooling as effectively or as quickly as it used to. A rise in electricity bills is another red flag since a malfunctioning compressor often consumes more power. Let’s break down the symptoms further.

Fan is Running but the Compressor is Silent

In a split AC system, the compressor is usually quite audible when functioning correctly. If you notice your fan spinning but can’t hear the distinctive hum of the compressor, it’s a clear sign of trouble. This can be due to the compressor failing to start or abruptly shutting down after a short run.

AC is Not Cooling Even When the Fan is Running

If the airflow from your AC is not as cool as it should be, or if it’s simply blowing ambient air, it’s likely that your compressor is non-operational. Even if the fan is running at full speed, without the compressor doing its job, the cooling effect will be severely impacted.

Why the Fan Might Work when the Compressor Doesn’t

The fan and the compressor of your split AC are two separate components with different control mechanisms. They can independently encounter failures, meaning one can stop working without affecting the operation of the other. This explains why your fan can continue to run while the compressor remains silent.

Common Causes of the Problem

Now that we’ve understood the symptoms and the role of the compressor, it’s time to delve into what might cause this problem. From electrical glitches to mechanical mishaps, there are several factors that can lead to the compressor not working while the fan is running.

Electrical Issues

Electrical problems are one of the main culprits behind compressor failures. These can vary from an insufficient power supply to faulty wiring and electrical connections.

Insufficient Power Supply

A compressor needs an adequate power supply to start and run properly. If there’s a problem with your home’s power supply, or if the AC unit is not receiving enough power due to a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, it can prevent the compressor from working.

Faulty Wiring or Electrical Connections

Loose or damaged wiring can disrupt the power supply, making it impossible for the compressor to work effectively. Over time, electrical connections can corrode or become loose, impacting the functionality of the compressor.

Mechanical Failures

At other times, the problem could lie within the compressor itself. Issues like a compressor lock or refrigerant leakage can also lead to it not functioning properly.

Compressor Lock

This happens when the compressor’s motor struggles to run but can’t due to a lockup within the system. This could be due to reasons such as a broken motor, internal damage, or a buildup of contaminants.

Refrigerant Leakage

The refrigerant is the lifeblood of the cooling process, and any leakage can severely affect the compressor’s functionality. Low levels of refrigerant can cause the compressor to overheat and eventually fail.

Maintenance Related Problems

Like any other home appliance, your split AC also needs regular maintenance. Neglecting this can lead to several problems, including a non-functioning compressor.

Neglected Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your AC ensures that all parts are functioning correctly and efficiently. Failure to perform regular maintenance may result in the accumulation of dust and dirt, leading to problems like a clogged condenser coil or a failing compressor.

Clogged Condenser Coils

The condenser coil, which is part of the outdoor unit of your split AC, can become clogged with dirt and debris over time. This can interfere with the heat dissipation process, causing the compressor to overheat and fail.

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Troubleshooting the Issue

Once you’ve identified the possible causes, it’s time to troubleshoot. Remember, while some issues can be handled with simple DIY fixes, others might require professional attention.

Preliminary Troubleshooting Steps

Before calling in the professionals, there are a few things you can check and potentially fix on your own.

Checking the Power Supply and Circuit Breaker

Ensure that the AC unit is receiving the required power. Check if the circuit breaker has tripped or if there are any blown fuses. Resetting the breaker or replacing the fuse might solve the problem.

Inspecting the Outdoor Unit for Obvious Damages

Look for any signs of damage or wear and tear on the outdoor unit. Check if the fan is spinning freely, and ensure that the unit is not clogged with dirt or debris.

Advanced Troubleshooting Steps

If the problem persists after preliminary checks, it’s time for a deeper inspection.

Evaluating the Compressor Motor

If you’re comfortable with advanced troubleshooting, you can use a multimeter to check the compressor motor’s resistance. An abnormal reading could indicate a faulty compressor motor.

Checking the Capacitor and Contactors

The capacitor helps the compressor motor start-up, while the contactors control the electrical flow to the compressor and other parts. A faulty capacitor or contactor can prevent the compressor from working. Again, a multimeter can be useful to check their functionality.

Seeking Professional Help

While troubleshooting can help identify the problem, fixing a faulty compressor often requires professional skills and tools. Attempting to fix it yourself can sometimes do more harm than good.

When to Call a Professional

When basic troubleshooting doesn’t resolve the issue, or if you’re uncomfortable performing the checks and fixes yourself, it’s best to call a professional. Professionals have the knowledge, experience, and tools to diagnose and repair the issue efficiently and safely.

Identifying Situations That Require Professional Assistance

If you suspect severe issues like a locked compressor or a refrigerant leak, it’s time to call a professional. These are complex issues that require specialized knowledge and equipment to fix.

Importance of Hiring Licensed HVAC Technicians

Always ensure that you hire licensed HVAC technicians. They are trained to handle all kinds of AC problems, including issues with the compressor. They can also provide you with valuable advice on maintaining your AC and preventing future problems.

Risks of DIY Repairs for Compressor Issues

While DIY repairs can save you some money, they can also be risky, especially when dealing with a component as vital as the compressor. You might end up causing more damage, leading to costlier repairs or even a complete system replacement.

Long-Term Benefits of Professional Repair

Professional repairs not only fix the issue at hand but also help prevent future problems. Technicians can spot potential issues during their visit and fix them before they escalate, saving you time, money, and stress in the long run.

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