During the summer, our air conditioners are our lifelines. Without it, we would not be able to escape the stifling Florida heat and humidity. So, when your AC won’t turn on, you may feel like it’s time to panic.
But before you freak out, there are several things you can do to troubleshoot. Below are the most common reasons why an air conditioning unit might not turn on and what you can do about it.
10 Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn On
If your AC won’t start, be sure to check these potential causes or call Blair’s Air now.
1. Circuit Breaker Tripped
A common problem is the circuit breaker switching off. Sometimes, when you’re using too many appliances at the same time, a circuit breaker will trip. It could also happen when there are power surges after a storm.
Find your electrical panel and check the AC switch. If it is in the “OFF” position, simply switch it to “ON.”
If the circuit continues to trip multiple times, do not try and switch it back on. For some reason the circuit is overloading and switching it on may cause an electrical fire. Instead, call an electrician immediately.
2. Condenser Unit Unplugged
Visually inspect the cord coming out of the air conditioner. The problem may be as simple as the AC not being plugged in (if you have a window unit)! It most cases, it is a small brown cord that comes out of your AC and is connected to a panel on the side of your home.
Sometimes, these wires can become unplugged or even chewed through. This could stop the flow of electricity to your AC, preventing it from switching on.
3. Thermostat Issues
Your thermostat is your way of communicating with your air conditioner. So, if the thermostat is not working properly, there is no way for your AC to know that it should be switched on. First look at the screen on your thermostat. If the thermostat is off or showing a blank display, try switching it on. It could also be a case of expired batteries. Be sure to replace the batteries in the thermostat.
If your thermostats still won’t switch on, it could be a sign that you need a new thermostat. You will need a professional technician to come in and take a look at it. It could be an electrical problem with your thermostat.
4. AC Motor Failure
The capacitor is the part that charges your air conditioner’s motor. If your AC is older than 15 to 20 years, a faulty capacitor may be to blame for its failure to turn on. To find out whether this is the issue, you can use a multimeter. If it turns out that the motor works fine, then you can eliminate this as a likely culprit. Remember to turn off the AC and shut off its power supply before testing this.
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5. Clogged AC Drain Line
Lack of maintenance will cause the AC to eventually become overloaded with moisture and clogged with gunk. Be sure you keep your condensate drain line clean by pouring a cup of boiling water down your drain pipe every month or so.
6. Clogged Air Filter
When was the last time you changed or replaced your air filter? It’s common for this task to slip out of mind when there are so many things on your To Do list, but the reality is that if you’ve had the same one installed for way too long, it’s going to be caked with dust and debris. This blocks air flow and causes the coils to freeze. As a result, your AC will stop cooling your home altogether. And if the layers of ice are thick enough, it may cause the unit to not turn on at all.
Before checking to see if this is the issue, set your air conditioner to ‘OFF’. Turn off the breakers that supply it with power and replace the air filter. Once you’ve changed it, you’ll have to wait a while for the ice to defrost. Do not turn on the air conditioner before this happens, because you could damage the unit.
If you don’t have the time or patience for this, you could use a blow dryer on its lowest setting to speed up the process.
7. Dirty condenser lines
Over time, mold can grow inside your air conditioner’s condenser lines. You can unclog and clean them with a wet/dry vac. Before you do this, repeat after us: Turn off the air conditioner and power supply first.
8. Refrigerant Leak
There are several ways to know if you have a refrigerant leak even before your AC stops turning on. If it isn’t cooling your home, if your electric bills go up for no apparent reason, or if you could hear a hissing sound, you likely have a refrigerant leak. This is a serious issue, if left unattended, it could lead to refrigerant poisoning.
Because of this, and because Environmental Protection Agency regulations only allow certified technicians to purchase certain kinds of refrigerant, you’ll have to call an HVAC professional to help you.
9. You Need to Install the Thermostat Somewhere Else
It’s also possible that your thermostat is getting a false reading of the temperature in your home and shutting off automatically. This can happen if it’s located on a wall that faces outside or close to a room in your home with significant temperature fluctuations (such as a laundry room or kitchen). In addition, this may result in higher utility bills.
10. Blown Fuse
The fuse box is located on the outside of your home, near the condenser unit. As with every single item on this list, we recommend that you turn off the air conditioner and power supply. We can’t say this enough. Failing to do so may result in electrocution.
Once you’ve located the fuse box and turned off the power supply, pull out the fuses and do a continuity test with a multimeter. If one of the fuses isn’t working, you can purchase a new one at a hardware store or from online retailers. Just make sure to take a picture of it so that you have the make and model handy.
Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On? Call Blair’s AC for Repair
No one should be left to suffer without AC. Especially in the dead heat of a Tampa Bay summer! That’s why Blair’s Air is there when you need us. If you’re having problems with your air conditioner, give us a call. We offer 24/7 emergency repairs, so it doesn’t matter when your AC goes out. We’ll be there for you!
Call (727) 800-4148 to schedule your appointment.