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What to Do When Your AC Is Not Turning OnJune 7th, 2022 by
Air conditioning may be an extra luxury for some homeowners, but it is a necessity for many. Hot summers can be unbearable without HVAC climate controls, and a heatwave can even be dangerous to your health with the AC not turning on.
Also, people with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions may rely on air conditioning to keep allergens or other triggers out of their homes.
AC systems can seem intimidating, so even a simple fix may feel beyond your reach. Before you call in an HVAC professional, check out these troubleshooting steps you can try when your AC is not turning on.
Troubleshooting Steps When Your AC Is Not Turning On
If your AC is not turning on, here are some things to check before calling in a professional.
Check Power Sources
This step may seem obvious, but a few things could escape notice. If you use a power cord to plug in the AC (common in window units), make sure it is connected. Someone could have unplugged it to charge a phone. You should also check your circuit box. A circuit breaker may turn the power off to avoid a blown fuse. This can keep the HVAC from working even if it is not plugged into an outlet.
Check Thermostat Battery
Many thermostats run off battery power. This helps them keep working even if the electricity gets cut. However, if the battery is low, the thermostat will stop working, so it won’t be able to turn the AC on when it gets too hot in the house. The simple fix here is to replace the battery and see if the system turns on again.
HVAC systems have filters that remove dust and other particles before sending the air into the duct. You should change these filters regularly. If you forget, it may become clogged with dust and dirt. This can cause the system to shut down. On the other hand, a dirty filter can keep the cool air from reaching the vents even if the AC is working. A visual check will tell you if the filter is dirty or not. In most AC units, it simply lifts out of a slot, and you can replace it by sliding a fresh filter into the same place.
Check Thermostat Settings
The thermostat may be set for too high a temperature. For example, if the thermostat is set at 80 degrees, the AC will not turn on until it reaches 80 inside your home. Setting mistakes like this can often happen when you switch seasons and move from the heater to the air conditioner. The thermometer in the thermostat could also be dirty. You can remove the faceplate and see if there is dust collected underneath. If there is, you can remove it by gently blowing on it using a bulb syringe or small compressed air tool.
Check for Drain-line Clogs
During a cooling cycle, air conditioners produce condensation. The water drips into a drain pan and then flows out via a hose. In some cases, the drip pan can get clogged, disrupting the entire system. You can fix this issue after switching off the whole AC unit and checking the drip pan and drain to find the clog. Then, after you remove whatever is stopping the outflow of water, you can turn the system on again and see if this solves the issue of your HVAC not working.
When Should You Call a Professional for Your AC?
If you have checked for these common, easy-to-remedy issues and the AC is not turning on, it is time to call a professional. Here are some other signs that signal it is time to bring in an HVAC technician.
- There is warm air coming out of the vents when the AC is on. This problem could come from an issue with your AC or a leak in your ductwork.
- Bad odors are coming from the vents or AC unit. This could signal a problem with the electrical or gas system. You need to call a technician right away to assess the situation.
- Clicking or grinding sounds are coming from the central AC unit. This could mean that you have poorly lubricated or broken bearings or a problem with the fan belt.
- There is poor airflow even if the system is on. This usually means that there is a problem with the AC’s compressor.
- The home is very humid. A properly working air conditioner should reduce moisture in the house. If it is humid or damp, there is likely an issue with the AC.
If your AC is not turning on, don’t fret. Follow the steps above to see if you can troubleshoot the issue. If not, it may be time to use a professional. A skilled HVAC technician can fix the problem and recommend preventive maintenance steps to help you avoid similar issues in the future.