Four Troubleshooting Steps For An Air Conditioner That Won't Turn On

There are many reasons why an air conditioner won't turn on when it's supposed to, but basic troubleshooting can help locate and correct many of these issues. Checking batteries, inspecting electrical components, and making sure your drain is clean and clear can often get your air conditioner running again.

Check Your Thermostat Battery

When troubleshooting an air conditioner, it helps to start somewhere simple. To that end, checking your thermostat's batteries to make sure they're still working or that they haven't started to leak is a great place to start.

Thermostats don't use much battery power, but inevitably, your batteries will deplete. Sometimes your thermostat may even show something on its display, but there won't be enough power for it to signal your air conditioner to turn on. Even if you think your batteries are fine, try replacing them with a fresh set just to be sure.

Batteries can also leak, and when this happens, you may notice a white powdery substance around your battery terminals. This can interfere with the batteries even if they have power left, and when this happens, the batteries need to be removed and the terminals cleaned before new batteries are put in.

Inspect Your Fuses

An air conditioner's fuses are designed to protect the system's valuable electric components. If an electrical problem occurs, the fuse will typically take the hit rather than something much more expensive. They can also wear down over time even if nothing goes wrong. One sign that your fuses may be the issue is if you hear a humming sound from the outside unit, but the fan blades are not moving.

Your fuses are typically outside near the outside unit often in a protective case. First, open this case to check for any signs of visible damage, such as black marks that could indicate electrical damage, or any physical wear and tear. If they still look fine but are pretty old, you can either test them to see if they're still good or try replacing them with new fuses to make sure. Be sure to power off your air conditioner at the thermostat and circuit breaker panel before doing this. Fuses can stop your entire air conditioner from running but are relatively inexpensive and simple to replace as needed.

Have Your Circuit Tested

If you have an older air conditioner or if your home has suffered any pest- or weather-related damage, the circuit your air conditioner is installed on itself could be working incorrectly. One sign of circuit trouble is if you notice that the breaker for the air conditioner's circuit trips constantly or if the air conditioner itself seems to be receiving no power even if everything else is functioning correctly.

Circuit issues can pose a risk to your home, as electrical damage can cause overheating and fires, so if you suspect the issue may be with your circuit itself, avoid using your air conditioner until a professional can inspect and fix the problem.

Check and Clean Your Condensate Drain

As your air conditioner runs, it pulls moisture from the air before recirculating it through your home. That moisture drips down into the condensate drain pan, where it is then drained safely outside. If this drain gets clogged, this moisture can back up. The good news is that your air conditioner is designed to shut itself down if this occurs to prevent water damage, but the bad news is it won't be able to run until this drain is cleared.

These drains can typically be cleaned using conventional means, such as by using a wet/dry vacuum to suck out any blockage or by using a vinegar mixture to help break up the clogs.

Reach out to a professional who provides air conditioning services fo more information.