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AC Won’t Turn On

When people think of Florida summers, they picture lazy days spent on white sand beaches, a fruity cocktail in hand (bonus points if a Jimmy Buffett song is playing in the background).

While this can be true about the Sunshine State, those of us who live here year round also have to deal with routine, everyday realities such as getting the kids to school, getting to work on time, and running errands. When you’re not a tourist, things can get hectic, fast.

So when you get home, you just want to relax – but if your AC won’t turn on, you can throw that idea out the window. Don’t panic just yet. Before you call a professional because your AC won’t turn on, read these potential culprits first.

8 Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn On

There are many things that can prevent an AC from turning on, but here are some of the most common culprits and how to address them.

1. The Thermostat Is on the Wrong Setting

Sure, it sounds like a no-brainer, but the reason your AC won’t turn on might just be that the thermostat is on the wrong setting.

Check that your thermostat has power, and if it doesn’t, swap the old batteries for a new set. If your thermostat does have power, make sure the device is set to ‘COOL’ and that the temperature is below the current room temperature.

2. The Circuit Breaker Tripped

Next to adjusting the thermostat, this is probably the easiest fix there is. If your air conditioner was working without any issues but suddenly your AC won’t turn on, it’s possible that an electrical surge tripped a breaker. This can occur if you have too many appliances running at once.

To fix it, look for your circuit breaker panel. It’s usually located in a garage, storage room, closet, or basement. If you’re renting, be aware that it could be located inside kitchen cabinets or pantries.

Once you open the panel, all of the switches should be labeled, indicating which part of the house they power. Each switch has three settings: “On”, “Off”, and neutral. When you find the one that provides power to your air conditioner, set it to “Off” before setting it back to “On”. If it’s already set to “On,” then it’s time to keep investigating why your AC won’t turn on.

3. The Air Filter Is Clogged

Generally, air conditioner filters should be changed at least once a month. But this time frame varies depending on several factors such as how many people live in your home, whether anyone in the home smokes, whether you have any pets, and whether anyone in your home suffers from allergies. It also makes a difference which type of filter you have installed. Unfortunately, the cheaper the filter, the lower the quality of materials, meaning you’ll need to change them more often.

With that in mind, it’s important to change the air filter when it becomes soiled from dander, dirt, dust and other debris. This is because when an air filter is bogged down with debris, it can’t do its job. Not only will this result in reduced air quality, but it can also put excess strain on your air conditioning system. This can ultimately cause your AC to freeze up or even prevent the AC from turning on.

4. The AC Shutoff Switch Was Triggered

Did you know your air conditioning system has an ON/OFF switch just like the lights in your home? It’s true – and sometimes, it can accidentally get turned off. To find out if the ON/OFF switch was triggered, look at the indoor component of your AC and check for a switch that looks similar to a light switch (this should be relatively close to the unit). Once you locate it, check that it is in the “ON” position.

5. The Condensate Drain Line Is Clogged

An AC unit works by absorbing the hot air and moisture inside the space. The humid air taken in drips into a pan and is filtered to outside the home through a condensate line. With the passage of time, mold and algae can grow in the tube. Left unattended, it could cause clogs in the system. This, in turn, blocks the airflow and could keep your AC from turning on. There are ways to take care of this yourself, but it may be best to call an HVAC professional to do it for you. If you do choose the DIY route, make sure your AC and the power breaker are set to “Off”.

For more information, check out our blog: The Complete Guide to Unclogging Your AC Drain Line

6. There Is a Blown Fuse

The fuse box is usually located outside your home, on a wall near the condenser unit (that big box outside your home). Remove both fuses and use a multimeter to do a continuity test. If one or both of them are not working, you can buy a replacement at any hardware store. And as with cleaning the condensate line, before you remove the fuses, make sure the power source to your AC is turned off.

7. There Is a Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerant is a gas that allows the AC to emit cold air. If you hear a hissing sound coming from your air conditioner, (or if you’ve tried the other options and haven’t found the culprit to your AC not turning on), call an HVAC professional as soon as possible. Being exposed to this gas could result in refrigerant poisoning.

Related blog: 4 Symptoms of an AC Freon Leak & What to Do Next

8. Your AC Is Old (And Needs to Be Replaced)

Reality is, at some point, you’ll have to replace your AC unit. If prior to the AC turning off, you’ve had continuous problems (such as a bad smell in the home, or the AC makes weird noises, or if you have an AC repair technician on your speed dial because you call them so often), it may be time to invest in a new unit.

AC Repair Service in Broward, Palm Beach, and St. Lucie

At Sansone Air Conditioning Electrical & Plumbing, we are always ready to help you if your AC won’t turn on. If you live in Broward, Palm Beach, or St. Lucie, we’ll make sure your AC is in optimal condition. We’ll also provide preventive maintenance to help avoid glitches in the future.

Call us to hear about our specials and to schedule an appointment.

Broward: (954) 800-2858
Palm Beach: (561) 701-8274
St. Lucie: (772) 879-5656

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