If your air conditioner is not working, the problem can often be pinpointed to the HVAC compressor. This is not necessarily a death sentence for your HVAC unit. Many small, inexpensive and easily replaceable parts are prone to breaking down. Other times, your HVAC may simply need a thorough cleaning. The problem is often simple enough to be repaired by an average homeowner. Walking through these simple steps will help you determine what to do when your HVAC compressor won’t turn on, and decide whether or not you need to bring in the assistance of a certified HVAC technician.
What is an HVAC Compressor?
Your compressor is a critical part of your HVAC system. In residential units, it is typically located as part of the outdoor unit. The role of the compressor, true to its name, is to compress the refrigerant fluid as it carries heat out of your house. This heats up your already warmed refrigerant fluid even further, converting it from its gaseous form into a liquid.
Though purposefully adding further heat may seem counterintuitive, it is important that the refrigerant be at a higher temperature than the outdoor environment. Especially if you live in areas where summer days can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This taps in to a basic rule of physics: Heat will always transfer from warm to cool areas. To ensure that the heat your refrigerant fluid is carrying outside is transferred efficiently out of your home, it is crucial that your compressor be well maintained and in working order.
Maintaining the Smaller Pieces
The good news is that it may not be necessary to replace the entire HVAC compressor. Your compressor is made up of multiple parts which can be replaced individually. If it is one of these parts that is failing, simply replacing the smaller component can grant you significant savings.
Check Electrical Wiring
If your compressor will not start, your first step is to check and see if your unit is receiving power. Examine all the wiring in your HVAC unit, especially the wiring which connects it to an outlet. If you have a blown fuse or a tripped breaker, this may be the end of your search. It is time to bring in an electrician who will help you decide what to do when your HVAC compressor won’t turn on.