A quiet household can be a wonderful thing. But when you realize the source of the silence is an air conditioner that won’t turn on, relaxation can quickly turn to panic. In a matter of minutes you’re begging for the gentle thrum of that 16 SEER Goodman motor to return. Sometimes, however, no amount of wishing will get the air conditioner to kick back on. Learn some common reasons your air conditioner isn’t turning on and what you can do to fix it.
7 Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn On
1. Tripped Breaker
The first place to check if your AC unit won’t turn on is the circuit breaker. If there is an electrical surge, these breakers will trip in order to protect your home from fire hazards. If your AC unit has been working fine and suddenly won’t turn on at all, it is likely a tripped breaker. Simply switch the breaker back on and see if your AC unit is back up and running.
2. Thermostat Problems
Another common reason your AC unit may not turn on is a faulty or broken thermostat. If the thermostat is unresponsive or its settings aren’t properly controlling the air conditioner, it may be broken or in need of batteries. Follow the troubleshooting steps outlined in the product manual (most of which can be found online, if you no longer have the paper manual). If the thermostat is still not working, you will need to have it serviced by an HVAC professional.
3. Broken Fan Motor
If the unit is turned on but the outdoor unit’s fan is not spinning, you probably have a broken fan motor, which is often the result of a bad capacitor. Your air conditioner’s indoor fan could also malfunction, in which case it will be unable to blow air throughout your home. In either case, your AC unit will be unable to cool your home until the damaged parts are serviced. If your air conditioner has been making a clicking or humming sound when turning on, that’s a telltale sign that a capacitor is about to go bad.
4. Refrigerant Leak
If your AC unit has already been having problems cooling your home, you may have a refrigerant leak. Refrigerant is how the system turns warm air into cool air, so if the supply gets low it will be unable to cool properly. Ultimately this can cause damage to the compressor and shut down the unit completely. In general, you will not need to replace refrigerant if there is no leak since air conditioners work in a closed system. However, if you do have a refrigerant leak, you’ll need a licensed technician to purchase and refill the unit. Call one as soon as possible, this issue could lead to refrigerant poisoning.
5. Clogged Air Filter
As with almost any AC malfunction, you should check the state of the air filters to see if they might be the culprit. A clogged air filter will restrict airflow throughout your system, and — in severe cases — can trigger a shutoff switch that keeps the unit from overworking and breaking down completely. You should change your air filters every 30 to 90 days, depending on the quality of filters you buy and the amount of dust, dander, and debris in your indoor air.
6. Blown Fuse
To see if your unit has a blown fuse, check the fuse box located on a wall near your outdoor condenser unit. Shut off power to your AC and then, using a multimeter, do a continuity test. If one of the fuses is blown, you can purchase a replacement online or at a local hardware store.
7. Clogged Drain Line
If your drain lines become clogged, many modern AC units have a safety switch that will trigger when the water begins to back up into the system. This prevents the backlogged water from causing further damage to the system until the clog is fixed. In most cases, unclogging a drain line is a quick DIY repair, but in extreme cases professional help may be required.
Need AC Service in Atlanta, GA? Air Select Can Help
Whether you need AC advice, routine maintenance, or a full replacement, our trusted team of HVAC experts are here to help. Since 2008, Air Select has been providing dependable, high quality AC services for families and businesses in Atlanta, GA. Contact us using this form to schedule a service or talk to an expert.