Why Your AC is Not Turning On (and What to Do About It)!

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  • 21 Dec, 2022
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Why Your AC is Not Turning On (and What to Do About It)!

If your AC is not turning on, we can help. While this might seem like a major problem, you could actually be facing a relatively small and easy-to-fix issue. Our licensed technicians can diagnose the problem and get your AC working again. We fix both indoor and outdoor parts of your HVAC system, including ductless units and split units. Repair is key. You don’t’ have to jump right to replacing your entire HVAC system. Let’s talk about some of the most common problems that can cause a broken air conditioning unit.

 Circuit Breaking Issues

The first place to start checking if your AC is not turning on is your circuit breaker. Often, there is nothing wrong with the HVAC unit itself. It is simply a matter of your circuit breaker overloading. This can happen if you are trying to draw too much power. During the summer, especially on very hot days, your AC unit is running more than normal. Other large power draws include refrigerators and stand-alone freezers, washers and dryers, water heaters, lights, and ovens. If they’re all turned on at the same time, in addition to your air conditioner running, your breakers can trip.

You might hear a loud pop if the breaker trips while you are at home. It can sound scary, but it is actually a good thing. The breaker tripping protects electrical fires. You might simply need to flip the breaker to fix the problem. However, you may need to upgrade your breaker box to handle a larger electricity load. A circuit breaker can also trip if something is wrong with your AC unit causing surges of power. If your breaker trips more than once, call us for an assessment.

Thermostat Communication Problems

Another relatively easy fix to an AC that won’t turn on is a broken thermostat. Your thermostat, when working properly, tells the unit when the temperature in your home reaches a certain level. If the thermostat isn’t communicating properly, the AC won’t understand that it should start running.

Before you call us, check your thermostat for any easy-to-fix issues. Maybe a family member accidentally turned it off. Or, maybe a neighborhood-wide power outage caused it to reset. Make sure your thermostat is set to the correct temperature. If you have a single HVAC unit for heating and cooling, make sure that it wasn’t switched to heat by accident.

If you do need a new thermostat, our technicians can help you choose the best option. We have thermostats that provide a variety of options, including scheduling, to help you cut costs at night and when you aren’t home. You can even get thermostats that connect to smart devices so you can control your temperatures with voice commands or a phone app. Of course, we can also install a basic thermostat with very simple features.

Dirty Air Filters

Yes, something as simple as a dirty air filter can stop your AC from working. Your system has to work harder if your filter is dirty. This causes the cold air to back up in the unit, which in turn causes ice to build up around the evaporator coils and pipes. As the internal unit temperature drops due to the ice, parts freeze and your AC shuts off.

The fix for this problem is easy: simply replace the air filter. You should be replacing your air filter every few months or every month in some cases. The frequency at which you’ll need to change your air filter depends on your home. If you have pets or a lot of dust in your home from having your windows open, you’ll need to change it more often. As an added bonus, this will help improve the air quality in your home.

If you see ice built up around your air conditioner, do not try to break it off. Ice crystals can sometimes attach to very delicate parts. Plus, melting ice can cause water damage depending on where the buildup is happening. We can help with any ice removal needed.

Clogged Drain Pipes

Your air filter is not the only thing that clogs. You might also have a clogged drain pipe that prevents your AC from turning on. Air conditioning units have a drain pan underneath, so check if that is full. If the pan is full of water, it probably triggered a “float switch” which is meant to protect your home from flooding.

Most drain pans have a main condensate drain pipe and secondary drain pipe to prevent problems due to clogs. However, if your AC is producing a lot of condensation, both pipes could become clogged. This is most common in very humid climates, so we see it regularly here in North Carolina!

If you can visibly see a clog near the pan, you might be able to clear it yourself. However, if you can’t clear the clog yourself, we can clear it for you using compressed air. Clearing potential clogs is one of the things we do during regular tune-up service. We have both one-time service appointments or a tune-up plan.

Common Parts that Need Replacement

Sometimes, an AC won’t turn on because a certain part is broken. Here are some common parts that break down overtime and may need replacement before your AC will turn on:

  • Fan motor
  • Compressor
  • Circuit board
  • Evaporator coil
  • Condensate pump

The cost to replace any of these parts is typically much lower than the price to replace your unit. Of these, the most expensive repair is typically the AC compressor. The exact cost depends on the size and type of the AC compressor you need. If you need an expensive repair or new unit, we can help with financing.

Refrigerant Leak

In addition to parts that need occasional replacement, sometimes the problem is with refrigerant (also sometimes known as the brand name Freon). We can inspect your unit to look for a refrigerant leak, which could be dangerous for your family or the environment. Our team has training to be able to handle refrigerant safely. This is not something you should attempt on your own!

We can also help with a refrigerant recharge. The main job of refrigerant is to pull heat out of the air so your AC can send cool air throughout your home. With a central air conditioner, you shouldn’t have to “recharge” unless there is a leak or other damage. The term “recharge” is actually a bit misleading, because in actuality you are refilling the refrigerant. Again, this is something that only trained professionals should do. There is no safe way for people to recharge their own home AC refrigerant. We follow EPA guidelines. This page has resources for homeowners who want to learn more about what the EPA recommends and requires.

In some cases, it might make more sense to upgrade your AC unit. Refilling an older AC unit with refrigerant can be expensive, and one leak can indicate that more leaks will happen in the future. Newer models are more environmentally-friendly and come with a warranty. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about more leaks in the future with a new unit. We’ll recommend a new unit if it makes sense for your home. Our team considers both the size of the leak and the age of the unit when making recommendations.

Other Problems with Air Conditioners

Sometimes, your AC will turn on, but it is not working properly. This could cause your AC to blow warm air instead of cool air, your furnace to run at the same time as your AC, weird noises to come from your vents, or your AC to run continuously even when not needed. There’s no quick solution. Our team will check for a number of problems including the following:

  • Holes in your ductwork
  • Disconnected ductwork
  • Damage to your outdoor unit
  • Dirty condenser coils
  • Blown fan motors
  • Broken condensate pump
  • Defective start capacitor or compressor
  • Misaligned belt

This is not a complete list of problems with air conditioners, which is why it is so important to leave the diagnosing to professionals. Our team members are NATE-certified and are experienced in providing personalized solutions. We take pride in fixing problems quickly, so you won’t spend weeks in a miserably hot home.

The expertise of a NATE-certified technician is the best way to have a professional, top-quality solution to any of your HVAC issues. North American Technical Excellence is a national organization that tests and certifies technicians to ensure that they are experts in their field. They must pass tests about every aspect of Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning to qualify for the certification and stay current with updated educational information.

Do You Need a New AC Unit for Your Home? Call Aspire if Your AC is Not Turning On.

Sometimes, we see a domino effect of multiple issues happening at once, especially with older units. If this is the case with your air conditioner, we may recommend a replacement unit. Not every HVAC contractor will be honest with you about when you need a new unit. They’ll jump to a replacement to squeeze more money from you. However, our team only recommends upgrading your unit if we believe it is the most cost-effective solution. Here are some situations when we’ll recommend a new AC unit:

  • The repair needed will cost more (or almost as much) as a new unit
  • Your unit is very old, so more repairs will be needed soon
  • A repair would only be a Band-Aid on a bigger problem, which would cost more money sooner rather than later
  • Your air quality is substantially compromised or even dangerous
  • Your unit is so old that it is difficult to find affordable replacement parts

We do not believe in surprise bills like some HVAC contractors. If you do need a new unit, we’ll give you a fair price quote. Then, we stick to this budget. At the end of the installation, you won’t receive an inflated bill that includes costs we didn’t include on the quote.

Additionally, when you work with the team at Aspire Heating & Cooling, you don’t have to worry about problems with your replacement unit. We provide a 10-year parts warranty, a 10-year labor warranty, and a lifetime craftsmanship guarantee. These are some of the strongest warranties you’ll find in the HVAC installation world. We stand behind our work and only install top-line air conditioners. As a Trane dealer, we must meet their high standards in order to offer such high-quality warranties. You’ll have peace of mind when you work with Aspire Heating & Cooling.

Here’s what our happy customers have to say about working with the Aspire Heating & Cooling team:

“Really terrific service! They were in and out so fast, really courteous and professional and clear with their diagnosis, and they just fixed the problem almost immediately. The whole process was a breeze (no pun intended). Really painless process. A+, would definitely work with them again” – Lyman Johnson

“Your service technician, Chris, came to my house to address an AC exchange coil problem. As in previous interactions with him, I found Chris to be exceedingly polite, courteous and, most importantly, extremely professional. He thoroughly analyzed and researched the situation and then designed a fix that appears to have solved the problem. The way he approaches a problem and interacts with the customer truly makes him an Aspire Heating & Cooling asset. I have total confidence in him and hope he answers all my service calls to you.” – Steve Nagy

“I switched to Aspire couple of years ago after receiving a great recommendation from a friend. They are so thorough when completing routine service checks. I needed a new unit and, after an in-depth consultation, took their recommendation. The unit is a top performer. I was lowest in my service group in energy consumption this month and my bill has decreased substantially.” – Fredia Roberts

Read more reviews from real customers here.

Are you ready for a free consultation for your AC problem? Contact us now or fill out the form at the top of the page to get started.

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