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What To Do If AC Is Not Turning On?

Woman sets the temperature on the air conditioner with remote control, while standing at modern white kitchen of the studio apartment

The last thing you expect during a sweltering summer day is your AC to stop working. Nothing is more frustrating than fiddling with the thermostat up and down only to confirm that the unit refuses to turn on. At that time, you hope to be able to find anyone offering 24-hour AC repair because the idea of trying to sleep without cool air feels like a nightmare. When this happens to you, here are some ideas of things you may do.

Double Check Your Thermostat

Make sure your thermostat is set to cool. It sounds like an obvious thing to do, but in many cases, someone in your household might have accidentally brushed against it and turned it off or moved it to heat. Set the thermostat some 5 degrees cooler than you normally would to give the compressor a chance to engage. If this does not solve the problem, you will need to call an HVAC technician to come and have a look.

Change Your Air Filter

A dirty and clogged filter will not allow your AC to work as it should. When the filter is dirty, the unit will be overworked, which may fail the system. Change the filter and allow the unit to rest for 5 minutes. Turn it on and see if it starts working again. Remember that a clean air filter is also good for you since you will have better indoor air quality.

Check Your Breaker Box

Look to see if there is a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse. This may cause more than one appliance to stop working and refuse to be turned on. Make sure that no breakers have been tripped.

 Woman sets the temperature on the air conditioner with remote control, while standing at modern white kitchen of the studio apartment

Look For Ice

Look at your outdoor unit to see any signs of ice or frost. When this happens, you should turn off your AC while keeping the fan on auto. This may be coupled with a filter that needs to be changed. Wait until you can no longer see any frost or ice, and turn the AC back on. If it does not engage, it is time to bring in the professionals.

Refrigerant Leak

Another reason your air conditioner might not be working is that the refrigerant levels are low. Refrigerants are needed to eliminate heat by cooling the air for it to be able to move throughout your home. If the refrigerant levels are low, this may not happen. Your levels may be low due to a leak. Before you rush to try to add more refrigerant, think about two things. First, this is not something that you can DIY since you may cause further problems by adding too much. Also, if the problem is a leak, it will persist no matter how much refrigerant you add.

Look For the Inside Power Switch

If your system has an indoor power switch, check to see if it has not been flipped off. If it has, flip it back on and after waiting a few minutes, try to turn the AC on again.

See If the Emergency Shut-Off Switch Has Been Tripped

Next to the outdoor part of your AC system, there may be a metal box connected to the unit. A switch in it might have been turned off. While there is never any need for you to move that switch, it might have been the technician who left it off, or someone moved it by accident. Give it several minutes after turning it on, and then try to turn on your air conditioner once again.

Call an AC Repair Technician

If you have tried all the suggestions mentioned above and your air conditioner still refuses to cool, it is time to make an appointment with an AC repair technician. This is a sign that something bigger must be happening, and if you do not know AC systems, it is best to let the professionals diagnose the problem and fix it. They can easily determine what the problem is and get your house as cool as you like it once again.