If your air conditioning unit won’t even turn on, much less cool you down, then the problem is probably electrical. Either your AC isn’t receiving any power, or it isn’t communicating with the thermostat properly. Check your home’s circuit breakers first, then make sure the thermostat is working properly.
Don’t worry–most of the problems that cut off power to your air conditioning unit are quick and easy to fix. In fact, most of them aren’t really “problems” at all so much as small accidents! If your AC isn’t working, you should answer the following questions in order right away. Hopefully, you’ll be able to identify and fix the “problem” right away! Here’s where to start:
Are the breakers flipped?
We’re not trying to make fun of you–honest! Believe it or not, AC units use enough power that they’re often hooked up to their own, discrete breaker. If that breaker flipped closed in response to a surge, it would only affect your AC unit. In other words, unlike when other breakers flip, you might not notice it right away. Well… at least until you start sweating.
If your AC unit isn’t running at all, the first thing you should check is your breaker box. Make sure all the breakers aren’t tripped. If you find one that has tripped, chances are it’s your AC breaker. Simply flip it back or replace the fuse, and you should have solved the problem. If the breaker flips again soon after you flip it, then you may want to give us a call.
Is the thermostat working?
This is the most common (and, thankfully, easily-fixed) problem that could keep your AC unit from running. If your thermostat isn’t working, then it doesn’t matter if your unit is working perfectly. A broken thermostat will never “tell” your AC that your home is too warm, and so your AC will never activate. It’s not that your air conditioning can’t turn on, it’s just that it doesn’t know it’s supposed to!
If your thermostat uses batteries, try replacing those right away. If that doesn’t do the trick, check to see if a broken circuit is cutting off your thermostat’s power. Finally, play with the settings a bit. See if you can trigger the AC unit to start by setting the thermostat way down. If none of this works, then the problem may be with the thermostat’s internal electrical components. An expert can fix thermostat problems quickly and easily.
Are the disconnect switches turned off?
Air Conditioning Disconnects (ACDs) are special breaker switches located between the AC unit and its source of electrical power. They’re used to quickly shut down power to the AC unit in case of emergency or for maintenance. Building codes mandate that all homes have an ACD next to all AC units for safety. If any of your ACDs are flipped to their “off” position, then they’re restricting all power flowing into the AC unit.
Depending on your AC unit, you might have one or two ACDs. They will be next to your AC unit and could be located either inside or outside. Usually, ACDs are located under plastic or rubber panels for safety. Try finding your ACDs and making sure they’re flipped to the “on” position. Resetting your ACDs might be the only “fix” you need. If you find the AC disconnect box but can’t open it, you should give us a call.
Is the air conditioning drainpipe clogged?
Your AC unit’s drain pan catches condensation that slides off the evaporator coils and transfers it to the drainpipe. The drainpipe transfers that condensation out of the unit, so it won’t hurt the system. If the drainpipe clogs, then the drain pan will fill with condensation. Some AC unit drain pans contain a float switch that senses when the pans fill with too much water. When this switch activates, it disables the unit to prevent the excess condensation from damaging the system.
Open your AC’s condenser unit and check the drain pan. If it’s full of water, then the drainpipe is clogged. Drainpipes clog for a variety of reasons, from algae to sediment to a break in the pipe itself. Remove the drainpipe cap and use a snake or wire brush to clean out the inside of the pipe. You could also pour bleach or another cleaning solution through the pipe. If this doesn’t solve the problem, give us a call.
Didn’t find the solution you needed? Don’t panic, that’s not necessarily the end of the world. All kinds of different problems can prevent your AC unit from working. We didn’t cover problems with the coils, the condenser, or the actual electrical connections here. If any of those are your problem, there isn’t much you can do yourself.
Luckily, you don’t have to fix your AC unit yourself. You can call Mike Diamond instead. Our licensed experts can help make sure you have your AC unit back ASAP. Just give us a call and we’ll fix your problem, no sweat–literally!