When your air conditioner fails to turn on, it’s time to take matters into your own hands—or not. You may be able to take care of this yourself, but when it comes to handling electrical wiring or part replacements, you’ll definitely need to call a contractor.
The first step when troubleshooting your air conditioner is to check the thermostat. Make sure it is set to “Cool,” and not “Off” or “Heat.” This may sound like common sense, but it’s better to double check your thermostat’s settings, instead of paying a contractor to come out for such an easy solution.
Next, check the temperature. The temperature set on your thermostat should be lower than the current temperature in your home. For example, if the thermostat is set to 73 degrees, but the room temperature is 72 degrees, there is no need for the A/C to turn on, since the desired temperature has already been reached. If this is the case, simply set your thermostat to a few degrees lower than room temperature.
Once you’ve taken the aforementioned precautions, you can proceed to replacing the batteries. Not all thermostats require batteries to operate, however, so you’ll have to check if yours does. Once you install new batteries, you’ll need to reprogram the thermostat, so be sure to read the instructions manual to do that correctly.
Another thing you can do to is clean your thermostat with a compressed air cleaner. Sometimes thermostats can lose their sensing capabilities because of all the dust and small particles that accumulate inside of it. Be sure to remove the batteries before you do this, and to be safe, flip the circuit breakers to the “Off” position.
And if none of these work, you may be dealing with a faulty thermostat, or that might not be it at all. Before you go and spend over $100 on a new thermostat, there are more troubleshooting steps you can try.
Now that you’ve checked your thermostat, and you see that it is indeed working properly, the next step is to inspect your air filter. A dirty filter can be the root of a great deal of air conditioning problems, such as a malfunctioning blower, ductwork damage, and a list of other potentially major (and costly) issues.
If your A/C unit isn’t turning on, the problem might be solved by simply replacing the air filter (or cleaning it if it’s reusable). Depending on the type of system you have, the air filter may either be inside the actual A/C unit or in the air returns, which are inside your home. Be sure to turn off the air conditioner before you remove the filter.
If your air filter is located in the air return, it’s also a good idea to clean the air return grille, as dirt and debris tend to accumulate here, too. Air filters are relatively inexpensive, and if you’re handy, you can replace it yourself if it’s easily accessible. But if this task sounds intimidating, a contractor would be happy to replace it for you.
If none of these troubleshooting techniques solve the problem, then it’s definitely time to call a contractor. The issue causing your air conditioner to breakdown might be electrical or it may be a problem with damaged parts. Exposed wiring or tripped circuit breakers may signal problems with malfunctioning parts that cause the breakers to turn off. You could try flipping the breakers back to the “On” position, but if they flip back to “Off,” you’ll definitely need to contact your contractor, as this is a problem better suited for a practiced professional. A trained air conditioning technician will locate the problem quickly and get your unit running in no time.
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