Nothing puts a damper on a hot summer day like coming home from work to find out that your AC won’t kick on. If you’re experiencing this, it could be a sign that you need to purchase a new air conditioner, or it could be a simple solution. So, how do you identify the reason your AC won’t turn on?
8 Reasons Why Your AC Won’t Turn On
1. Clogged Air Filters
If you haven’t changed your air filters in a while, the accumulation of dirt and debris is going to obstruct the airflow. In turn, this will cause layer upon layer of ice to form over the AC coils. The more time goes by, the more ice will accumulate and may cause your air conditioner to shut off.
How often you should change your air filters depends on many factors, such as how many people live in your home, whether you have pets, whether anyone in the home has allergies or smokes, if you burn scented candles, or if you live in an area with high levels of air pollution. The more of those boxes you tick, the more often you have to change the filters. If all of them apply to your household, make sure to change them at least once a month.
Another important factor to consider is the type of air filters you’ve installed. Inexpensive filters seem like a good bargain, but you have to replace them more often. For more information on air filter materials and how to take care of them, check out our blog: Are More Expensive Air Filters Worth It?
2. Tripped Circuit Breaker
If your AC suddenly turned off without previously showing any signs of trouble, it’s possible that an electric surge in your home tripped the breaker. This could be the case if you (a) were running too many appliances at the same time, or (b) you recently lost power and it came back on.
To fix it, look for your circuit breaker panel. It’s usually located in a closet, storage room, or garage. If you’re renting and it’s the first time you’re looking for it, be aware that it’s sometimes located inside kitchen cabinets or pantries.
When you open the panel, you’ll see that the switches are labeled with the name of the room it powers. The one for the AC should be labeled as such.
Each switch has three settings: On, Off, and a middle neutral setting. If the problem is a tripped breaker, the switch will be in the neutral setting. Set it to OFF before setting it back to ON.
3. Blown Fuse
Another simple fix would be replacing a blown fuse. To check if this is the case, set your AC to OFF, turn off the breaker, and locate the fuse box (it’s usually located on an exterior wall, by the condenser unit).
Take out both fuses and use a multimeter to do a continuity test. If one or both are not working, purchase new fuses at any hardware store.
4. Clogged Condensate Line
Air conditioners absorb moisture from the air inside your home. This condensation drips into a pan and is filtered outside through the condensate lines. This means that just as with anything that’s constantly exposed to humidity, the line becomes a fertile breeding ground for mold, mildew, and algae.
Cleaning your AC drain lines regularly is part of regular AC maintenance for optimal performance. Failing to do so (particularly in hot and humid climates, like in our beautiful Florida) increases the chances of a clog of sludge forming in the lines.
For more information on how to unclog your drain line, check out our blog: How to Unclog Your AC Drain Line in 3 Easy Steps
5. Bad Thermostat
The thermostat is often the first place you look when your AC isn’t working properly. Sometimes, it can even be the reason for your air conditioning woes. If there’s a malfunction with your thermostat, it’s not going to be able to tell your system to turn on and cool your home. Common thermostat issues include:
- Poor placement in your home
- LED display not showing up
- Dead batteries
- Corrosion or debris has developed inside of it
To know if your thermostat is bad and how to troubleshoot it, read our blog: How to Tell If Your Home Thermostat Is Bad
6. Bad Capacitor
Your AC’s capacitor provides it with the energy to start up and to keep running during its heating/cooling cycles. Naturally, if the capacitor is bad, your AC is not going to work. Common signs of a bad capacitor include:
- AC having trouble turning on
- AC shutting off on its own
- AC not blowing cold air
- AC makes a humming sound
7. Clogged Drain Pan
Your indoor air handler unit contains a drain pan that collects the water that builds up during the heating/cooling process. That water is then carried outside of your home by the drain line. When the drain line is clogged, however, water can backflow into the pan, which triggers a float switch in your unit to turn the system off. This is a safety measure to prevent further damage to your AC unit and to your home. Once you unclog the drain line and remove the water from the pan, the float switch should reset, and the unit should resume normal operation.
8. You Need a New Air Conditioner Unit
An air conditioner will give warning signs well before it shuts off for good. Some of the most common signs include unusual sounds, bad smells, not cooling your home despite proper maintenance, and frequent repairs. If you’ve been facing some of these issues and your AC is older than 15 to 20 years, it’s time to purchase a new unit.
If You Need to Replace Your AC, We Can Help
At Complete Air Mechanical, we have experienced HVAC professionals who can inspect your AC and/or install a unit that’s right for your home or business. We provide services in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Volusia counties, and we offer financing options.