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My A/C Compressor Won’t Turn On

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Posted March 15, 2013

The compressor is the heart of your home’s air conditioning system. As it moves refrigerant through the machine, heat is transferred from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit, cooling your home in the process. In the Houston TX area, this cooling is especially essential; if your A/C compressor won’t start, the Texas heat looms large. Check for a few common issues to determine the cause of the problem and find a quick solution.

Faulty Wiring

Like any other appliance, your air conditioner needs power to run, and sometimes it is a lack of power to the compressor that leads to starting issues. Check the main power cord that connects to the compressor for burning, corrosion or melting, all of which can interrupt the power supply and prevent your compressor from starting. Generally, this issue means that the wire needs to be professionally replaced. A similar issue involves problems with the start capacitors that transfer power to the compressor. With the machine powered off, open the access panel and check to see if the capacitors are burned or puffy. Replacing the capacitor should solve the problem.

Mechanical Issues

Sometimes, an A/C compressor refuses to start because it is mechanically blocked or sticky. A poorly oiled motor is a likely culprit; be sure to lubricate it with the proper type of oil to prevent other issues from emerging down the road. Damaged or broken bearings can also cause problems with the motor and make it difficult or impossible for your AC compressor to start. Because these components are somewhat small and quite delicate, they should be examined and replaced by an HVAC professional to make sure your compressor will work properly again.

Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant is the chemical that transfers heat through your air conditioner. As the machine cycles, it absorbs heat at the evaporator coil and releases it at the condenser coil, cooling your home by bringing that heat outside. This process merely requires the refrigerant to evaporate and condense, and does not actually consume any refrigerant. Thus, the refrigerant level should not change during normal operation.

If the refrigerant level does drop below the recommended level, the A/C compressor may refuse to start. Determining whether this is the problem is easy: Just consult your owner’s manual, locate the refrigerant gauge and compare it to the recommended level found in the documentation. Low refrigerant is generally caused by a leak, and a leak requires professional attention to repair, so call in a service professional right away.

Get Help From A Houston Air Conditioning Contractor

We at Air Specialist service and repair all makes and models of air conditioners throughout the Houston TX area. Our trained and certified air conditioning technicians know how to diagnose and repair all sorts of compressor issues, including refrigerant leaks, mechanical problems, power supply interruptions and more. If your compressor refuses to turn on and you are not sure of the cause of the problem, just give us a call. We will come to your home promptly, diagnose the problem and repair your compressor to make sure your home stays cool throughout the summer.

Related article: 6 Common Causes of Air Conditioner Failure


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