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Air conditioners are one of those machines that most people forget about until it isn’t working. Legend Air Heating & Cooling, LLC, an experienced air conditioning service, explains the problem, whatever it may be, could be easily fixed on your own. If you find yourself sweating on a hot summer day and your AC isn’t turning on, take a look through some of these troubleshooting tips before you call a repair person.


So how does an AC unit work exactly?

Most home AC units rely on a machine that sucks air in through an intake that filters out particulates and then runs it through a condenser unit that cools the air. Any excess warm air is radiated to the outside. The cool air is then distributed throughout the home.

What are some reasons my AC won’t turn on though?

The five most common reasons your unit won’t turn on are all things you can troubleshoot yourself. They involve the thermostat, air filter, circuit breakers, drain pan, and finally the shutoff switch. If they are outside of these you might have a more serious problem.

Could it really just be my thermostat?

You have to start with the basics first! Check to see if your thermostat is getting power (most of them run off of some sort of battery). If it is on check to see it is flicked into COOL mode and the temperature is set below the temperature of the room.

Is my air filter really a big deal?

Absolutely and is in fact one of the most overlooked parts of an AC unit. If your filter is inundated with crud, it can force your unit to turn off or freeze up. Make sure to change these at least once every three months.

What is this about circuit breakers?

They are typically located in the garage or utility room and are the power source for your entire house. During outages or electrical shorts the breaker for your AC can trip, cutting the power to your unit. Go ahead and look in the box and flip the switch into the right position.

What is the drain pan?

This is the part of the unit that collects water and is found on the bottom portion of the unit. If this isn’t being properly drained because of some sort of blockage, the float inside the drain pan can be triggered, stopping your unit from turning on.

Where is the shutoff switch?

They are usually located either around the unit itself or near the thermostat. These switches do exactly what they imply – work as a shutoff for the unit entirely. These switches can sometimes be turned off without thinking.

What are some common problems with AC units?

Often times AC units don’t just turns off but can have multiple problems that happen with it first. This is related to how the AC unit struggles to cool the room, the unit turns on but simply doesn’t cool, or the condenser turns off and on repeatedly.

Why won’t my unit cool evenly?

The AC unit is one part cooling and another part distribution. When part of the room is cooling, it means the cooling portion is working but not the distribution. Check the fan is kicking on in your duct system or there is no blockage past the grill in the ceiling.

What if my AC unit is turned on but not cooling?

Well, the first thing you should do is check your thermostat to see if it as at the right temperature. If everything looks okay here, you’re going to want to look over the evaporator and condenser to see if they are dirty.

Wait, why is my condenser turning off and on a lot?

Once again it’s all about cleaning up the condenser. Check around your unit to see if there is an excess amount of dirt, leaves, and other debris. From here you’re going to want to see if the air filter needs to be changed.

What is some basic upkeep I should be doing with my AC unit?

To ensure that your unit won’t fail you on a hot summer day, make sure to routinely change out the filters, clean around the coils, remove any debris around your unit, and make sure the coil fins are straight so your AC is getting enough air.

How often should I have a professional come out and look at my unit?

It can vary depending on your location with most advocating once a year. A good AC technician should be able to answer all your questions, come with some sort of certification, and be able to tell you the best methods in keeping your unit working.

Is there anything else I need to know?

There are several reasons why an AC unit won’t turn back on, with most of them fixable by a DIYer. If after going through the checklist you’re still having trouble with your unit, you may need to have a professional come look at it.