RV Air Conditioner Compressor Not Coming On (Solution)

When it comes to RV traveling during summer, there is one thing you must have in your RV if you want a pleasant vacation, and that is a good RV air conditioner. When it comes to problems with the RVs rooftop air conditioning, you really notice it when there already is a problem, and you need to fix it. You might ask yourself what to do if the air compressor is not working properly and what are the signs of an air compressor that is not working properly? In this article, we’ll go through all of that. So, let’s start!

Why RV Air Conditioner Compressor Not Coming On?

So, Why RV Air Conditioner Compressor Not Coming On? Usually, if your RV AC compressor isn’t turning on, be sure to check the wires that connect the two units. A blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker can also be the cause of the problem. Other common causes are a faulty thermostat, wrong installation of indoor and outdoor units, or an old AC unit.

Lucky for you, some problems with the RV air conditioners are really easy to diagnose and fix. On the other hand, some problems and fixes require skilled professionals! In our guide, we’ll show you how to determine the problem with RV air conditioning system and how to fix it by yourself, or you need professional help.

Related Article: Which RV Brands You Should Avoid (And Why!)

Common Reasons Of A Bad RV Air Conditioner

Sometimes, your RV Air conditioner will give you a sign that something is wrong with your unit, and sometimes your AC unit will stop working all of a sudden.

  • Warm Air Comes Out But Fan Runs – The fan continues to spin, but the compressor doesn’t move freon, and the air inside doesn’t get cooled. This means that the thermostat detects that the temperature is rising and it activates the system to work normally.
  • RV AC Unit Isn’t Responding – This happens when there is something wrong with your thermostat or something as simple as a dead battery or a blown-out circuit that is causing your entire AC system to not function correctly.
  • The Air Flow Is Weak – This could mean that your air filters are dirty or that your RV Air conditioner needs a refill on freon.

How Does An RV AC Compressor Work?

To find out what the problem is as quickly and easily as possible with your AC unit, you first must know how this system works. The two main components of an RV rooftop AC are: the compressor and the fan. The compressor works off the RVs onboard a 12-Volt current.

A mix of compressed cooling gases or Freon is circulated through the little tubes, coils, and cooling plates, which cool the air that is coming out of the RV air conditioner. In order for the whole process to work, the air conditioner’s compressor is highly dependent on the fans that are blowing the cold air out.

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The thermostat regulates the whole process, and it triggers on/off when the temperature inside the RV reaches or drops to a certain point. Batteries or the RV’s accumulator usually power the thermostats.

Why RV’s Air Conditioner Compressor Isn’t Working?

One way you can easily notice that your RV Air Conditioner compressor is not working properly is when you notice that the fan is running, but only warm and stale air is going through. In this situation, you should first check the RV AC compressor’s capacitors. It may be that some capacitors are short-circuited due to overload.

How To Tell If You Have A Bad AC Compressor Capacitor Problem

Some of the most common symptoms of a bad RV Air Conditioner capacitor are the following:

  • Your AC system hums when trying to start.
  • Your air conditioner works for a couple of minutes but then stops while not triggering the circuit breaker.
  • The fan blades in your AC system need a little push to start.
  • The AC unit blows warm and stale air, but something is wrong with the compressor.

How Does An Air Conditioner Capacitor Work?

The role of a capacitor is to store an electric charge within itself so it can activate the more powerful devices. When it comes to your RV air conditioner, the compressor, as well as the fan motor, is powered by the capacitors. Sometimes a bad capacitor may blow up without damaging the RV’s air conditioner system though.

The capacitors usually blow up if they were not used for some time. If you did not use your RV for some time, lift up the panel and check out your RV Air conditioner’s insides. The capacitors look like small batteries or buttons.

How Does A Bad AC Capacitor Look Like?

When inspecting your RV Air conditioner electronics, the bad capacitors can be visible to the naked eye. Usually, there are burn signs or black spots on the capacitor, or there can be an obviously damaged part. The capacitors do not have to be visibly damaged for them to not work properly.

Just connect the probes with a working capacitor to test if it works. If it does, the display should show a number that will decrease, when the capacitor is busted, it does not show a number.

When replacing the old, busted capacitor, check for the model number, which is usually printed somewhere on the capacitor. Once you buy a new capacitor, you need to remove the old one, and put the new one – install it on carefully.

Other Possible Problems Of RV’s AC Compressor

The capacitors are usually the ones that cause problems with your RV’s air conditioning system. However, this is not the only thing that needs to be checked.

1. Check Start Relays On AC Unit

The second thing you should be checking is the start relays. The start relays can get burned over time as well, or they can loosen up. The relay connections should be clean, if you notice black marks like burns, dust, or little scrap particles, that could be the problem.

The debris on the connections is preventing the electrical current to go throw. This is really easy to fix, though, you just have to find yourself a good auto parts store. Remove your relay and take it with you when visiting the store, or just remember the identification code which is printed on the relay.

2. Check The Fuse Panel or Circuit Breaker

Even when everything looks fine at first, it still doesn’t mean that it is! Upon close inspection of the circuit breaker, you could notice that the trip/fuse has indeed burned out. Just a little burned-out fuse can be the culprit of your air conditioner’s compressor not having the necessary working power.

3. Compromised Valves

Keep in mind that stuck valves also affect the function of an RV AC compressor. If the valves get stuck or if they break, the cooling gas, freon, gets to the compressor as liquid and not as gas.

4. Check The AC Filter

Usually, RV Air Conditioners have air filters in the air outlet. If it gets too dirty, or you just haven’t cleaned it for some time, the airflow in the system just isn’t enough to work properly. Remove the filter and replace it with a brand new one or clean your old one. Restart the circuit breaker that connects your RV’s air conditioning system with your onboard accumulator when done with that.

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How To Recognize If AC Compressor Is Bad?

If your capacitors are working properly, if the relays are good and starting, and if your filters are clean and still usable, something is very likely to be wrong with your compressor.

A few things could cause the problem such as a used-up bearing or some other mechanical fault that you can not fix yourself if you are not a professional. If you are not, this is the right time to call your mechanic to see the situation and fix it. If your compressor has visible burn signs or it’s unusually hot, blowing outburn smoke, then those are clear signs of some major internal faults with your compressor.

Here you can see why the domestic AC compressor won’t start and how to fix it.

For those who want to learn more, be sure to read How To Turn On Electric Water Heater in RV.

FAQ: People Also Ask

Can Low Refrigerant Levels Cause The RV AC Compressor Fail?

If your air conditioning system is low on the coolant, you should notice it before, as your system will gradually work worse and worse over a period of time. So yes, it can be a problem, but it should not catch you by surprise

Can You Use The RV’s AC To Keep The Interior Cool?

The RV’s dash air conditioner can be enough to keep you cool while driving, but it is highly doubtful that it will cool down the whole RV. And if you want your dash air conditioner to work, you need to leave your RV’s engine running.

Final Thoughts

It is a headache to have a problem with your RV’s air conditioning system at some point, but regular maintenance can help you prevent this problem from ruining your vacation. One good tip as well is to keep a multimeter onboard with you, just like some other tools that might come in handy when trying to fix anything that gets busted around your mobile home.

When diagnosing problems, always start with the simplest parts like the fuse, then move to more complicated components, like the filters and the thermostat.

This is a simple way to diagnose and eliminate problems easily. From that point, you should drop your eyes on the capacitors and the relays, to check if there are signs of any external damage to those parts. Suppose there is nothing wrong with your RV’s air conditioner compressor. In that case, it could be a quick fix, and you could end up saving a good amount of money by doing it yourself and not spending money on an expensive professional.

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3 months ago

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