Home » Why Does My AC Compressor Shut Off After 2-3 Minutes?

Why Does My AC Compressor Shut Off After 2-3 Minutes?

AC Compressor is the main thing of an AC system which gives you chilled air in hot summer. Living without AC is tough if you are in a very hot and humid region. But, when summer is at its peak, your AC starts acting haywire, and cooling is not up to the mark, it is very frustrating. I have been in this problem last summer, and I can really feel the pain. But, after having issues for many days, I was finally able to reach a conclusion and fix the problem.

Since I have been in this situation, I have been trying to find a solution online, and I saw many folks asking on Quora about an issue they are facing, and the query is “Why does my AC compression shut off after 2-3 minutes“. In this article, I am here to explain everything about it, as I feel the answers shared there by various users didn’t look like the people actually had the issue. Thus, I am here to write about it as per my experience I had last summer.

The very quick answer I would give you to this question is, that when the room is cool as per the temperature you have set in your AC, the compressor shuts off. Sometimes it may take 1 minute to cool that much or sometimes it would take more time. But, if your AC compressor is shutting off every 2-3 minutes even when your room is not cool yet, then there could be some issues with your AC system

Believe me, it is frustrating when you are perspiring, and the compressor shuts off before you are cooled enough. Let’s get into more details, and find out why the AC compressor keeps shutting off within 2-3 minutes.

Common Causes Of AC Compressor Shutting Off

When your room gets cool enough as per the set temperature, the compressor gets off, and it starts again when the coolness decreases. This is the main reason for the compressor getting shut off. But, if it is shutting off without even cooling the room completely that may be because of some issues, and that is what I am explaining further in this article.

Low Refrigerant Levels (Refrigerant Leakage)

Refrigerant is the most important thing about an AC because it is what makes you feel cool by giving out cool air. due to leaks, refrigerant levels may decrease, and because of that your AC will stop cooling, and the compressor keeps shutting down again and again which hinders the cooling process.

Low refrigerant levels can indeed cause an air compressor to shut down after 2-3 minutes of operation. This happens because refrigerant plays a critical role in the air conditioning process.

In an AC the refrigerant which is also called “gas” in general talks, goes through phase changes, transforming from a gas to a liquid and back again. During this cycle, the refrigerant absorbs heat from inside your room and releases it outside; because of that, you feel very hot when you stand outside of your room where the AC is fixed. Yes, you can’t even stand for a while from where the AC expels out the hot air. Due to this, the hot air gets out, and indoor air gets cool.

The normal levels of the refrigerant maintain the AC system pressure. But, when the refrigerant levels go down, so is the pressure. When there is low pressure, the compressor shuts off. And, to be exact, when your compressor is off, it means your AC is off because, without a compressor, your AC is nothing more than a Fan.

One important thing, when there is a refrigerant leak is happening, you will see ice build up on the AC Evaporator coil. This is an indication of leakage.

Frozen Evaporator coil

To tackle this issue, you must get the refrigerant refilled, and fix the leaks.

Dirty or Clogged Air Filters

When Air filters become dirty for a long time use, it reduces the airflow. This is the reason, it is recommended to service your AC frequently.  Due to reduced airflow, the cooling efficiency of your AC decreases as well because less air reaches the evaporator coil, making it harder for the system to maintain the desired indoor temperature.

dirty air filter

Additionally, the compressor has to work harder to compensate for the reduced cooling capacity, which can lead to overheating, and when the system overheats, the compressor shuts off.

To tackle this issue, you must keep cleaning the filter every month.

Faulty Thermostat 

The thermostat signals when to switch on and off the compressor based on the temperature. And, when the thermostat is faulty or has some issues, it may not be able to send the correct signal. Due to wrong signals, the compressor may shut down again and again.

The compressor may start and stop frequently, a phenomenon called short cycling. Additionally, the faulty thermostat can overwork the compressor by making it run at maximum capacity unnecessarily. This prolonged operation can cause overheating, and thus, the compressor shuts off to prevent further damage to the system.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues can have bigger problems than just compressor shutdown. Problems like faulty capacitors, failed relays, wiring issues, tripped circuit breakers, blown fuses, malfunctions in start components, voltage regulation, or control systems can disrupt the compressor’s operation. , due to this compressor may shut down unexpectedly.

How Does An AC Get Affected When the Air Compressor Shuts Down?

The compressor is the heart of your AC, and without it, the AC is not more than a fan. Thus, when the compressor shuts off unexpectedly, there are various consequences. These are a few things that happen due to this:

Ineffective cooling

The compressor is what is responsible for cooling your room, and if it doesn’t work effectively, and shuts off again and again, the cooling won’t be there. If it repeatedly shuts off within a few minutes, it doesn’t have sufficient time to cool the air and maintain the desired temperature in your home. This leads to inadequate cooling and discomfort in the summer.

Reduced Energy Efficiency 

Short cycling is a term given to the rapid on and off of the compressor. When this happens, every time the compressor starts up, it consumes a significant amount of electricity. Frequent cycling not only wastes energy but also increases your energy bills. So, this way, you are not getting the expected cooling but you are paying more bills. This is exactly what happened to me last summer, my AC had leaking refrigerant levels, and due to this either the compressor doesn’t start, or if it starts, it doesn’t cool, and it frequently stops. Due to those irregularities, we suffered a lot for a few days in the summer, and we paid a higher electricity bill for that month. All I did was, replace the AC as repair didn’t work out well for that AC, maybe it got too old.

Increased wear and tear

The compressor is a vital and costly component of your AC system. Frequent on-off cycling puts more pressure on the compressor, and due to that, its lifespan gets shorter. You will end up paying high repair costs or even complete replacement. 

Inconsistent Temperature

Short cycling can result in inconsistent indoor temperatures. You may notice that some areas of your home are cooler than others, and achieving a consistent and comfortable temperature becomes a challenge.

Frustration and Discomfort

Ultimately, the effects of a compressor shutting off after only a few minutes can lead to frustration and discomfort for homeowners. It’s particularly bothersome when you’re trying to maintain a cool and comfortable indoor environment during hot weather. 


I have answered your query, “Why does my AC compressor shut off after 2-3 minutes?”, If you find your AC compressor shutting off after just 2-3 minutes, it’s crucial to take immediate action. Ignoring this issue can lead to more significant problems and higher repair costs down the road.

To ensure your AC system’s longevity, energy efficiency, and comfort, enlist the help of a professional HVAC technician. They can diagnose the underlying cause of the problem and provide the necessary repairs or maintenance to keep your cooling system running smoothly. Remember, a well-maintained AC system is key to enjoying a cool and comfortable indoor environment during the scorching summer months.

About the author

Avatar photo

Niki D.

Niki D. is proficient in handling issues related to ACs, fans, air purifiers and other home environment controlling machines. Through this website she is sharing her experience and understanding of latest technology and trends in home climate control.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment