5 Reasons Your AC Compressor Isn’t Working (But the Fan Is Still Running)

When the AC goes out during a North Carolina Summer, it doesn’t take long to notice something is wrong. You head outside to investigate, and you see that the AC compressor (the outside unit) is quiet, but the fan blades are still turning. Our AC repair company in Garner is sharing four likely causes that your AC compressor isn’t working but the fan is still running so you can troubleshoot the problem.

Check the Thermostat

Before you begin worrying, the problem may be something very simple, such as your thermostat is set improperly. Check to make sure it’s set to your preferred temperature and that it is set on Auto and Cool, so the fan and compressor will kick in and blow cool air when the home is above the desired temperature. If this doesn’t work, make a note because it may still be the thermostat, but it could be faulty.

Excess Dirt Buildup

As your air conditioner pulls air to the intake vent, removes heat, and circulates cooled air through the home, it’s also picking up dust, dirt, and contaminants. Most of those are caught by the air filter but over time, too much dirt and dust will build up around the condenser coils and clog the filter so clean air can’t get into the unit. Without proper airflow and dirty coils, the whole system may shut down. However, it’s usually just the compressor while the fan is capable of still turning.

If the unit or filter is dirty, it may have overheated, which is uncommon but possible. Many units will shut down if they overheat to protect the compressor but sometimes overheating will cause a complete failure and require a new compressor to be installed.

Check Your Circuit Breaker

When the fan is turning but the air conditioner’s compressor is still, another likely problem is that electricity isn’t traveling to the outside unit. The compressor is outside, thus, it’s still, but the fan is still connected to the interior power.

First, head to the breaker box to see if a circuit tripped. If so, just reset it. Otherwise, take a look at any wiring running from inside to the outdoor unit and look for major concerns, but most likely, a professional will have to diagnose any electrical issues.

Faulty Air Conditioner Capacitor

If none of the above issues repair your AC, it may be the starter relay and AC capacitor aren’t working together. The capacitor supplies power to the compressor, outer fan, and blower motor. The starter relay moves that power to the compressor from the capacitors. If your compressor isn’t working but the fan is,you may have a faulty capacitor. This is a common and fairly simple problem, but it’s important to leave this repair to a qualified and experienced HVAC technician.

Compressor Has Died

The worst case scenario is that the compressor has reached the end of its lifespan. There could be a refrigerant issue, blocked lines, or it simply burnt itself out. If your compressor is over 12 years old, most likely it’s simply reached the end of its life cycle, and replacing it with a new, more energy efficient option will be the best option for your home.

Call Us for AC Repair in Garner Today

When troubleshooting doesn’t work and simple fixes don’t actually fix the problem, we’re here to help. With over thirty years in HVAC repair business, we can quickly diagnose and fix the problem and make your house cool and comfortable again fast. Call us at  919-772-2759 or fill out the form below to get started.

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