My Air Conditioner Won't Turn On—Why? Verify These 6 Items

Summer is in full swing and for many people that means turning up the air conditioning. But what to do if your air conditioner won’t turn on? Before you start sweating, check out these basic troubleshooting steps to see if you can turn your air conditioner back on.

1. Check your Thermostat's Settings First.

Make sure it is set to “Cool” and that the desired temperature on the thermostat is lower than the current room temperature. Make sure the fan is set to Auto or On. When set to “auto”, the fan only runs when the air conditioner is cooling the air. The “On” setting commands the fan to run continuously even when the AC power is not cooling the air.

If your thermostat is dead, it may need new batteries or something may have tripped the circuit breaker associated with it, which brings us to our next step…

2. Check the Circuit Breaker Panel in your House.

Air conditioners consume a lot of energy through their circuits. If a brief surge of current occurs, it can cause the circuit breaker to trip, preventing current from flowing through the circuit. In this case, your air conditioner cannot turn on.

When a circuit breaker has tripped, it switches from the “on” position to the “off” position. Reset any tripped circuit breakers by turning them back to the “on” position.

3. Ensure the Power SWitches for your HVAC System are Turned On.

Most central air conditioners have two power switches associated with them. One switch powers the indoor unit and the other powers the outdoor unit. Both switches must be in the “on” position for your air conditioner to work.

You can usually find the indoor unit power switch near the furnace or air conditioner of your system. You can find the outdoor unit switch next to the outdoor unit, usually in a metal box outside your home.

4. Check to See Whether the Air Filter Needs to be Replaced if it is Unclean.

A dirty air filter can restrict airflow, tax your air conditioner and increase the likelihood of it overheating and shutting down. Most owners should replace their air filters at least every three months during the cooling season.

If you’re not sure when you last replaced your air filter, or if it looks visibly dirty, replace it. It’s a good idea to have several filters on hand so you can change them as needed.

5. Check the Area Around the Outside Unit for Plants and Clutter.

Landscaping, leaves, dirt, and various debris can block airflow through the outdoor unit, causing your air conditioner to overheat and shut down. Remove any debris blocking airflow and ensure that there is at least two feet and several feet of vertical clearance around the unit. Outdoor air conditioners generally radiate most of the heat from above, so they need a lot of airspace to breathe.

6. Try Resetting the Device if you know how.

Your air conditioner might start acting strangely after a power surge trips the circuit breaker. The good news is that sometimes all it needs is a hard reset. Refer to your system’s owner’s manual for specific instructions on how to correctly reset your particular system to avoid inadvertently creating more problems.

Do you still require assistance?

If you’ve tried all of these things and your air conditioner still won’t turn on, it’s time to call a professional. At Carrano Air & HVAC Contractors Inc., our highly trained HVAC technicians can quickly diagnose the problem and get your air conditioning working again to keep you cool all summer long. Call us today for AC service in Dayton, NJ.

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