RV air conditioner compressor not coming on

RV Air Conditioner Compressor Issues

The compressor is the heart of the cooling cycle. If it does not work properly, your RV’s air conditioner will not work either. Compressor issues are an inconvenience, but there is a solution. Before you spend money on a replacement, it is better to hire an experienced RV AC technician to troubleshoot and try to repair the problem. The goal of this article is to identify various reasons for a compressor to malfunction.

Why is the Compressor So Important? 

The air conditioner is made up of four mechanical parts that should be in proper working condition for efficient cooling. The basic mechanical parts of the AC are:

  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Expansion valve 
  • Evaporator

The compressor is considered the most important part and plays various roles when it comes to functions of the AC. The functions of the compressor include:

Heat Transfer

The compressor pushes the hot gas to the finned condenser coil which is outside of the air conditioner, at the point where the fans blow cool air from the outside through the fins and extract the heat from the refrigerant transferring it to the outside air.

Makes Liquid

When there is enough heat that has been extracted from the refrigerant, it condenses into a warm liquid that is usually passing under high pressure to the expansion valve, turning the refrigerant into a cooled low-pressure liquid.

Absorbs Heat

When the refrigerant enters the evaporator coil where the pressure is lower, it is then chemically forced to evaporate into a gas. This process requires heating from the room’s warm air.


Check the Power Cable 

First things first, make sure that your AC is correctly connected to a power source.  Apart from the correct wiring, a fuse could have blown, causing the compressor to fail. If you are experiencing such issues regularly, it is important that a qualified RV wiring expert check out the connection to identify possible issues.

Do not take this issue lightly because it is never normal for the RV fuses and circuit breakers to experience such frequent problems. Bear in mind that the AC compressor could fail after continued use. 

If the power connection looks okay, with the fuses fully functional, check the following components to ascertain why the AC compressor could be failing to start.

  • The capacitors: A faulty or broken capacitor could be the main cause of AC compressor issues. In such a case, the technician might have to swap out the capacitor to resolve the issue. Note that the capacitor problem can only be resolved by replacing it. 
  • The start relays: Replace the start relay to see if the compressor will start. If the compressor works after you have replaced the start relay, this could be the main cause of problems. 
  • The valves: The compressor will not start if there is a broken valve. The main issue is that the refrigerant is normally in the form of liquid and not gas when it goes into the compressor inlet. So while the compressor might still run, the air conditioner does not provide proper cooling. Therefore, a quick replacement of the broken valve will resolve the issue. 
  • The terminal connections: A loose terminal connection often causes problems with the AC compressor. Check the connections to make sure that the compressor is connected properly.

If your RV air conditioner compressor will not start, contact a qualified technician for assistance. Do not attempt to replace the electrical parts yourself, unless you have been trained to do so, otherwise, you may cause more damage.