Why Your Air Compressor Won't Turn On and How to Fix It? 2

Why an Air Compressor Won’t Turn On and How to Fix It

Each DIY or professional job that calls for compressed air benefits from the use of an air compressor. But if your air compressor won’t start, it might be annoying and interfere with your work. In this post, we’ll outline the typical reasons why air compressors fail to start and offer a step-by-step guide to resolving the issue.

Reasons why an air compressor won’t start

The power source should always be checked first. Verify that the outlet has power and that the compressor is correctly plugged in. Make sure the switch or circuit breaker is switched on and not tripped if the outlet is controlled by one. The following are the typical reasons why an air compressor won’t start:

Electricity or circuit breaker failure

If there is no power going to the air compressor or if the circuit breaker has tripped, the air compressor might not turn on. Air compressors often won’t start due to power or circuit breaker failure. Air compressors can’t work without power. Blown fuses cut power cords, and circuit overloads can cause this. If the circuit breaker trips, the air compressor loses power. In such circumstances, check the power source, reset the circuit breaker, and verify the outlet. These procedures might help you diagnose and repair your air compressor.

Pressure switch malfunction

A broken pressure switch is another frequent cause of an air compressor not starting. Depending on the pressure of the air in the tank, the pressure switch is in charge of turning the compressor on or off. The compressor might not receive the signal to turn on if the switch is broken or damaged, which would prohibit it from turning on.

It’s critical to inspect the pressure switch in these circumstances for any damaged or malfunctioning indicators, such as broken or loose wires, and replace it if necessary. If there is a problem with the switch’s continuity, testing it with a multimeter can assist find the problem. Making ensuring your air compressor is properly maintained and replaced when necessary might help it operate more smoothly and effectively.

Clogged air filter

One of the causes of an air compressor not starting is a blocked air filter. The air filter’s efficiency decreases when dust and other contaminants gather on it. Because of this, the compressor may have trouble starting or not starting at all. The air filter should be checked for dirt and debris buildup and either cleaned or replaced as needed. Maintaining a clean and functional air filter is an important step in keeping the compressor’s motor and other parts in excellent working order.

Overheating motor

Another potential cause of an air compressor not starting is an overheated motor. This is frequently a safety measure to avoid damage or a fire starting on the compressor. If the compressor is utilized for a prolonged amount of time or is placed in a location without enough ventilation, the motor may overheat. A burning odor or discoloration are indicators that a motor is overheating.

Before attempting to operate the compressor again under such circumstances, it’s crucial to let the motor cool down. It might be required to fix or replace the motor if the issue doesn’t go away. To avoid overheating and preserve the compressor’s ideal operating temperature, it is also crucial to make sure that the area around it is properly ventilated.

Damaged or worn-out starter capacitor

A starter capacitor that has been broken or worn out is another potential cause of an air compressor not starting. The initial burst of electricity required by the motor to start operating is provided by the starter capacitor. The compressor might not be able to start properly or it might not start at all if the capacitor is broken.

A bulging or leaking capacitor or one that reads beyond the designated range on a multimeter test are indicators of damage or wear. To guarantee the motor obtains the necessary power to start the compressor in such circumstances, a new starter capacitor must be installed. The starting capacitor can assist prevent potential problems and ensure the smooth operation of the air compressor with routine maintenance and inspection.

How to Fix an Air Compressor That Won’t Activate

It’s annoying when your air compressor won’t start up. But you can get your compressor up and running again by following a few easy troubleshooting procedures. Step-by-step instructions for finding and fixing the issue are provided here.

Check the power and reset the breaker first

As a first step, verify the air compressor is receiving power. Verify that it is plugged in and that the outlet is working. You might try turning on the compressor again after making sure it is connected. Plug the compressor into a different, known-to-work outlet to see if that solves the problem.

The circuit breaker should be checked if the compressor still won’t turn on. The compressor’s power supply can be interrupted by a tripped circuit breaker on occasion. To see if a circuit breaker has been tripped, you should go to the panel where the breakers are located. In that case, try turning on the compressor once again after resetting the thermostat.

The pressure switch must be inspected, step 2

If the compressor still won’t start, the pressure switch may be at fault. The compressor’s on/off status is determined by the pressure in the tank, which is monitored by the pressure switch. If the pressure switch is broken or otherwise not functioning properly, the compressor will not activate.

Check the pressure switch for obvious damage, like a broken or dangling wire. You will need to replace the pressure switch if you notice any signs of wear and tear. In any case, if the pressure switch seems to be in good shape, you can use a multimeter to verify its continuity. If the pressure switch does not have continuity, it must be repaired or replaced.

Third, check and maybe change your air filter

The inactivity of the compressor may also result from a clogged air filter. Check the condition of the air filter to see if dust and other particles have accumulated there. Filter maintenance is required if the residue is discovered. Put in a new filter if the old one is worn out or can’t be cleaned.

Step 4: Inspect the motor for overheating

Moreover, the compressor may fail if the motor overheats. Look for discoloration or a burning odor as indicators of motor overheating. Symptoms of motor overheating indicate the need for maintenance or replacement.

Five, make sure the starter capacitor works

Another part that can prevent the compressor from turning on is the starter capacitor. Check the starter capacitor’s values with a multimeter. If the capacitor is bulged or leaking, or if the values are outside the acceptable range, it must be replaced.

Pressure Switch Testing, Sixth Step

If the compressor still won’t start after you’ve completed the aforementioned troubleshooting steps, try checking the pressure switch again. Verify the pressure switch’s continuity with a multimeter. If the pressure switch does not have continuity, it must be repaired or replaced.

Prevention and Maintenance

  • Check and clean the air filter monthly or as advised by the manufacturer to prevent clogging.
  • Keeping the air compressor cool and well-ventilated prevents overheating. This prevents motor overheating and air compressor shutdown.
  • Draining the air tank after usage prevents rust and corrosion. This also removes moisture from the tank.
  • Regular expert maintenance inspections can discover and solve possible flaws before they become severe problems. This extends the life of the air compressor.


How should I proceed if my air compressor won’t start?

The first thing to do if your air compressor won’t turn on is to check the power supply and, if necessary, reset the circuit breaker. Moreover, you can check the air filter, clean it or replace it, look for overheating in the motor, and test the starter capacitor to see if it needs to be changed.

What are some typical causes of an air compressor not starting?

The most frequent causes of an air compressor not starting are a bad power supply, a broken pressure switch, a clogged air filter, an overheated motor, and a worn-out or damaged starter capacitor.

If my air compressor won’t turn on, can I fix it?

Yes, you can typically fix your air compressor if it won’t turn on as long as you follow the troubleshooting instructions offered in the blog post and pinpoint the issue. But, it’s advised to seek the help of an experienced expert if you don’t feel confident making repairs on your own.

How frequently should the air filter in my air compressor be cleaned or replaced?

Depending on how frequently you use your air compressor and the operating environment, you may need to clean or replace your air filter more frequently. Therefore, it’s advised to clean or replace the air filter every three to six months as a general rule of thumb.

How do I keep my air compressor from getting too hot?

To avoid overheating, the area around the compressor must have proper ventilation. Maintaining clean cooling fins and placing the compressor in a well-ventilated space is important. Also, avoid running the compressor continuously without allowing it to cool down.