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4 Tips on What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

4 Tips on What to Do If Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On 05 Mar

An air conditioner is a system that cools down your home by removing and trapping heat from the air and venting it outside. Contrary to popular belief, It doesn’t create cold air. It removes excess heat from a room then circulates the remaining cooler air. Air conditioners are the best way to keep you and your family comfortable on even the hottest Canadian summer days.

Is your air conditioner refusing to start? Is it showing no signs of life, no fans blowing, or noise from the unit? Don’t worry; there are several likely explanations, and most are easy fixes. The most common issues are a clogged drain line, a dirty filter, or even a simple problem with the thermostat.

Here are the four most common reasons your AC unit won’t turn on and how to fix them. If following these steps doesn’t restore your AC unit, AC repair services are the next and safest step to keep your home cool and comfortable.

The filter needs replacing

Dirty or clogged filters are the most common issue we see with air conditioning units. Filters get dirty over time, trapping dust, bacteria, pet dander, and other small particles in the air. Beyond a certain point, a dirty filter will cause your AC unit to shut off. Be sure to inspect the filter and replace it if necessary.

One thing to note is that your unit will not turn back on as soon as you replace the filter. You’ll need to perform a ‘hard reset’ on the device. While the procedure is the same for most units, consult your Owner’s Manual for guidance on your particular model.

  • Shut off the unit’s power, often found in a shut-off panel next to the air conditioner.
  • Flip the main breaker for the AC unit in your house’s circuit breaker or fuse box.
  • Wait a few minutes to switch the breaker on, then reconnect the unit’s power.
  • Set the thermostat to COOL and pick a temperature. Your unit should start up immediately.

There is an issue with your thermostat

If your AC unit is not turning on, you may need to double-check your thermostat. Ensure that it’s set to COOL and the temperature is at least five degrees below the room’s current climate. You must program the temperature first. If you just set the thermostat to COOL, the unit won’t turn on.

Next, check that your thermostat is connected properly. Most thermostats have a faceplate (with controls and display) and a base plate attached to the wall (with wires running to the AC unit and furnace). Electrical prongs should connect the two. If the thermostat gets bumped and disconnects from the wall, it won’t turn on the AC unit.

Otherwise, there may be a wiring or power issue with the thermostat. If it is battery-powered, try swapping the batteries (the thermostat display should indicate if the battery is low).

If it’s a powered unit, ensure all wires leading into the baseplate are correctly connected. Once this is completed, the AC unit should start from the thermostat without issue.

The drain lines are blocked

A backed-up or clogged drain line is another common reason your air conditioner won’t turn on.

Moisture is a natural byproduct of the exchange of heat that happens in your air conditioner. The lines that drain this moisture can become blocked by dirt and muck over time. Once blocked, your AC unit will automatically shut off, which could cause leaks and water damage to your home over time.

For your safety, we always recommend turning the power off to your AC unit from the main breaker before attempting any maintenance.

Here’s how to quickly and easily clear your drain lines:

  • Locate the air conditioner drain line outside. It is a small plastic pipe found near your large condenser unit.
  • Attach a Shop-Vac that is rated for wet and dry use to the pipe. You may need to wrap a rag around the drainpipe to ensure a better seal.
  • Run the vacuum for several minutes. It will clear most debris.
  • Reconnect the power to your unit, and it should start up without issue.

The vacuum method is not a permanent fix. If the blockage is more serious, we recommend calling an HVAC professional if the issue persists or your lines become blocked again.

The condenser coils are dirty

With any split air conditioning unit (ones with a large box outside of your home), there is a possibility of dirt, dust, and other debris sticking to the condenser coils of your AC unit. These coils disperse the heat from your home to the outside air. If they get too dirty, they will not dissipate the heat, and your AC unit will shut off.

  • Make sure to turn off the unit’s power from the main breaker/fuse box in your home.
  • Remove the unit’s cover and spray down gently with a garden hose. You want to be delicate with this process, as damaging or bending the coils can cause severe damage to your unit.

If you are not comfortable cleaning the condenser coil yourself, we always recommend hiring a professional as it is possible to unintentionally damage the unit.

Call Smile HVAC

For any job you don’t feel comfortable tackling on your own, call Smile HVAC. We offer professional advice and speedy service for all your air conditioning needs. Our technicians will not only get your unit up and running quickly, but we’ll do it for less. Book your phone consultation today at (437) 777-4555 and find out how we can keep you cool and comfortable this summer without breaking the bank.