Why Your Frigidaire Air Conditioner Compressor Isn’t Turning On

When an air conditioner isn’t blowing cold air, the problem often comes down to the compressor. This key component is responsible for compressing and circulating refrigerant through the AC system to enable cooling. If the compressor isn’t running, the entire cooling process gets halted.

There are several possible reasons why your Frigidaire air conditioner compressor won’t turn on. Identifying the root cause takes some troubleshooting, but is necessary to get your AC back up and running.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the top 12 reasons a Frigidaire air conditioner compressor may not be starting up, along with the steps you can take to diagnose and fix the issue.

Signs Your Compressor Isn’t Coming On

Before jumping into the possible causes, it helps to confirm your compressor truly isn’t engaging. Here are the telltale signs:

  • The compressor is quiet when you turn on the AC. You should hear a low hum or buzz when it starts up.
  • The circuit breaker trips repeatedly when you try to run the AC. This often points to an electrical issue.
  • The vents blow warm air only, even on the coldest setting. Lack of cold air is a clear sign the compressor isn’t running.
  • You notice water pooling outside near the condenser. This indicates refrigerant is leaking out.

If you observe any of these indicators, there’s a high probability the compressor is not turning on as it should. Now let’s look at the key reasons why this might be happening.

Reasons Why the Compressor Won’t Start

There are a number of possible causes that could prevent your Frigidaire air conditioner compressor from turning on. Below are the most common issues to check:

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1. Power Failure

The compressor needs adequate electrical power to start up. If power is interrupted, that will shut down the compressor. Here are some power-related issues to look for:

  • The on/off switch is turned off – Simply flip the switch back on.
  • Tripped circuit breaker – Reset the breaker.
  • Blown fuse – Test fuses and replace any burnt out ones.
  • Faulty power cord – Inspect cord thoroughly and replace if damaged.

2. Faulty Thermostat

The thermostat controls power to the compressor using internal switch contacts. Over time, these contacts can burn out and fail to engage the compressor when AC is turned on.

To test the thermostat, use a multimeter to check for continuity on the contacts. If there is no continuity, the thermostat should be replaced.

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3. Bad Temperature Control Board

The control board provides voltage signals to operate the compressor and fan. If it is defective, that could prevent the compressor from starting up.

Diagnosing control board issues can be tricky without proper HVAC training. You may need to call in a technician to properly test and confirm if replacement is needed.

4. Defective Capacitor

The capacitor stores energy and releases it to the compressor when needed. It is connected to the compressor via electrical leads, which can burn out over time and cause capacitor failure.

Use a multimeter to check the capacitor’s continuity. If it fails the continuity test, it will need to be replaced in order for the compressor to operate.

5. Malfunctioning Contactor

The contactor is responsible for completing the high-voltage electrical circuit that powers the compressor. A problem with the contactor can break this circuit and prevent the compressor from starting.

Test the contactor’s continuity using a multimeter. If it shows no continuity, it will require replacement to restore power flow.

6. Dirty Filter and Coils

Clogged air filters and dirty evaporator/condenser coils can prevent adequate airflow and lead to compressor failure. The accumulated dirt and debris places added strain on the compressor.

Carefully clean the filter and coils to remove any built-up dust, lint, and debris. For the condenser coils, you may need to use a coil cleaner or brush to fully clean them.

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7. Faulty Thermistor

The thermistor is a sensor that monitors temperature changes occurring inside and outside the AC unit. If it malfunctions, it can disrupt signals to the compressor.

Check the thermistor for continuity with a multimeter. If it shows no continuity, it means the thermistor is defective and must be replaced.

8. Bad Relay Board

The relay board transmits high-voltage power to the compressor and fan. If it fails, the compressor won’t receive the voltage it requires to start up.

You’ll want an experienced HVAC technician to diagnose issues with the relay board. If testing confirms it is faulty, the board will need to be replaced.

9. Faulty Selector Switch

This switch directs power to the appropriate components, including the compressor. If the switch malfunctions, it can interrupt power flow to the compressor.

Try pressing the switch or turning the selector knob. If the switch is unresponsive, this indicates failure, and the switch will need replacing.

10. Defective Start Relay

The start relay assists the compressor in overcoming inertia and starting up. If it fails, the compressor may struggle to start or not turn on at all.

Use a multimeter to test the start relay for continuity. If it fails the test, replacement of the relay will be required.

11. Bad Electronic Control Board

This board oversees the AC system’s operation and regulates the compressor. If it malfunctions, it can prevent the compressor from engaging.

Have an HVAC technician diagnose the control board. If it is found to be faulty, the board will need to be replaced to resolve the issue.

12. Dead Compressor

If you’ve ruled out all other possible causes, then the compressor itself may be burnt out and non-operational. Replacing a dead compressor is often the only solution.

An HVAC professional can best determine if the compressor is faulty and needs replacement. Consider replacing the entire AC unit if the current model is very old.

Getting Your Frigidaire AC Compressor Running Again

Now that you know the main reasons why your Frigidaire air conditioner compressor may not be starting up, you can better pinpoint the problem.

Here are some tips on next steps:

  • Try quick fixes first – Check for power issues, clean filters/coils, inspect fuses and switches.
  • Do continuity testing – Use a multimeter to test parts like thermostat, contactor, and relays.
  • Call an HVAC technician – For diagnosis of complex parts like control boards, relay board, and compressor.
  • Replace defective parts – Swap out burnt-out relays, contactors, thermistors, switches, etc.
  • Consider compressor or AC replacement – If the issue can’t be resolved through less expensive repair.
  • Improve preventive maintenance – Change filters regularly, clean coils seasonally, and inspect parts annually.
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With some targeted troubleshooting and component replacement where needed, you should be able to get your Frigidaire AC compressor humming along once again. Just take it step by step until you’ve uncovered the specific issue holding it back from operation.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are other reasons my Frigidaire AC won’t turn on?

In addition to compressor issues, your AC may not turn on due to a tripped circuit breaker, blown fuse, faulty thermostat, loose wiring, or a frozen evaporator coil.

Why won’t my window AC compressor start up?

Common causes for a window AC compressor not starting include a bad capacitor, defective temperature sensor, loose wiring, seized up compressor, and incorrect voltage to the unit.

Can a bad capacitor prevent AC compressor from turning on?

Yes, a faulty capacitor can prevent the compressor from starting because it fails to deliver the needed jolt of power to start the compressor. Replacing the bad capacitor should resolve this.

What should I do if my AC compressor keeps trying to start but won’t?

If the compressor tries to start but won’t, the likely culprits are low refrigerant, bad start capacitor, faulty contactor, or issue with compressor windings. Have an HVAC technician diagnose and repair.

How can I get my old AC compressor working again?

For an older AC compressor, try cleaning coils, replacing capacitor, checking motor windings, and ensuring adequate lubrication. Retrofitting or replacing the compressor may be needed.

When should I replace vs repair the AC compressor?

If the compressor is very old, replacement parts are scarce, and repair costs exceed 50% of a new compressor, it’s usually better to just replace the entire compressor.


When your Frigidaire air conditioner fails to blow cold air, look to the compressor first. If the compressor isn’t running, the AC system can’t operate properly.

Several issues like power problems, electrical faults, part failures, and low refrigerant can prevent the compressor from starting up. By methodically checking each potential cause, you can get to the bottom of why your compressor remains off and resolve it.

While some problems like dirty filters or bad fuses are simple DIY repairs, others like relay board or control board issues require a professional HVAC technician. They have the skills to accurately diagnose and fix the problem.

Keeping up with regular AC maintenance and inspection will help minimize compressor problems over time. But eventually, compressors do wear out or sustain damage that necessitates replacement.

Knowing when to repair or replace your Frigidaire air conditioner compressor comes down to properly identifying the root issue and weighing cost vs. value of repair. With this guide’s help, you’ll be better equipped to get your AC unit’s compressor running like new again.

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