Almost all air conditioner owners face some common issues with their appliances. For example, some users reported that the compressor of their RV AC is not turning ON.
Some problems are minor and related to maintenance or control. Hence, they can be fixed at home. This guide will help you fix your RV air conditioner.
You do not need to do technical work. Instead, just follow the quick and simple troubleshooting hacks before calling a mechanic.
A Quick Review of Compressor
First, we will learn what an AC compressor is and how it works. A compressor is the engine of the air conditioning system. It circulates the compressed refrigerant Freon.
The refrigerant passes through coils and cooling fans. The fan is responsible to blow the cool air. In turn, the compressor exchanges heat and humidity inside the RV AC. While the whole function is controlled by the thermostat which relies on capacitors.
RV Compressor not Coming ON: Common Reasons
The followings are the common reasons why your RV compressor is not turning ON;
- One or all the capacitors are blown out.
- Power is insufficient.
- Start relays are bad.
- The compressor has failed partially or fully.
- The circuit breaker is tripped.
Solution #1. Check the Power Supply
The first thing you need to check is the power supply. Make sure your RV AC is plugged into a compatible outlet. Further, check whether the outlet is providing the required power or not.
Low voltage can turn ON your AC but cannot start the compressor. If it is installed in a car, check your vehicle’s power system and batteries. Confirm by all means that the AC is receiving adequate power.
Solution #2. Fix or Replace the Capacitors
As I mentioned earlier, capacitors are the most important part of your RV system. Here, I will describe their role, failure symptoms, and fixing methods.
The function of a Capacitor in AC
The capacitor is a small device that stores a small amount of electric charge. It provides necessary starting power to the system. In an RV air conditioner, capacitors function to start both the fan motor and the compressor.
It blows out in case of a threat, overloading, short circuit, or power surge. Thus, the whole system is protected from serious damage.
Signs of a Bad Capacitor
Although the thermostat and fan are working yet your AC does not produce cooling. This is a sign of a malfunctioning compressor. The first thing you should check is the capacitor. If they are overloaded, capacitors blow out.
So, the power supply to the motor is cut down and the compressor does not start. Some signs can tell you if the capacitors have gone bad.
- A humming sound comes from your AC system. It indicates that the system is struggling to start ON.
- Your RV AC runs for a few minutes and then shuts down automatically.
- The fan does not start easily. Instead, it requires a push or force.
- The air conditioner gives warm air although it is running.
- Clearly visible burn marks on the capacitors.
- Check with a multimeter. If the reading decreases gradually, the capacitors are working well. If the opposite happens, they have failed.
How to Fix the RV Capacitor
A capacitor looks like a small battery or button. There are multiple ones in an RV cooling system. You can find them in the internal system. So, you have to open up the panel.
Be sure to unplug and turn OFF the AC before accessing the components. It is better to call a technician. Replacing the capacitors is the only solution if they are blown.
However, it is not easy to do at home. Because you need to remove the old ones and attach the new ones by soldering.
Solution #3. Check the Start Relays
Start relay is another important component. If it fails, the compressor cannot start. Notice the signs of burnout or loosening.
Moreover, clean if you see any dirt or debris build-up. A new relay can be bought at a little cost. But, check the identification or model number and buy the compatible relay.
Solution #4. Reset the Circuit Breaker
Another possible cause is that the circuit breaker is tripped or the fuse has burnt out. But, apparently, everything looks fine.
Check the breaker in the main panel. Switch it OFF for a few seconds and then turn it ON again. If the fuse is blown, replace it. Hopefully, this will solve the problem.
Solution #5. Inspect the Valves
There is a valve in the compressor that controls the inlet of refrigerant. If the valve is bad, the refrigerant goes as a gas instead of a liquid. This stops the compressor from working. Fixing the bad valve will solve the issue.
Solution #6. Clean Air Filters
Check the air filters of your RV AC. If they are not clean, ventilation is not possible. Airflow is obstructed and the system stops working.
So, remove the filters after turning OFF your AC. Clean and wash them. Let the filters dry and insert them again. Reset the circuit breaker of your RV before switching it ON.
Solution #7. Compressor is Bad
If all other things are working fine, the compressor of your RV is bad. Its bearings are burned out. A mechanical failure can also occur inside it. In serious situations, the compressor gives out smoke or a burning smell.
Further, the unit gives strange and loud noises. You cannot deal with the technicality of your AC. Hence, it is recommended to call a professional mechanic for a repair and checkup.
Frequently Asked Questions About RV AC
Read the following important questions for further help.
Can low refrigerant levels damage my RV AC?
Your RV AC will not produce cooling if the refrigerant is too low. So, technically, it damages your appliance. Because the primary purpose of an air conditioner is cooling. The efficiency of your AC becomes worse gradually.
Do air conditioner fans work if the compressor is bad?
Even if the compressor is bad, the fans can still run. But, sometimes, the fans also stop working. The compressor malfunctions due to poor maintenance or old age.
How to cool my RV without an air conditioner?
You can try a number of hacks to cool your RV without AC. For example, cover the windows or use a swamp cooler. Moreover, you can use more than one fan. Breathable bedding is another smart hack to reduce heat. Keeping windows closed during the day and open during the night can also help.
So, there are a number of basic tips that you can apply to fix the issue. This guide will help you a lot if your RV AC compressor is not turning ON. Freely ask if you have further queries.