Living in Southwest Florida it is no laughing matter when your AC won’t turn on. Problems with your HVAC unit year round here in the high temperatures of a subtropical climate are a homeowner’s nightmare. There are multiple possible issues that you could be experiencing in the event that your AC won’t turn on. These common problems range from easy fixes to big problems, so we put together a list to fill you in on all the details.

For many people, they want their first step to be self-diagnosis to avoid unnecessary service costs. We understand and we want to help walk you through the possible issues you might be experiencing. If you are not interested in handling these issues yourself, don’t hesitate to contact professional HVAC technicians to handle electrical problems with your HVAC system for your safety and for the safety of your cooling system.

11 Common Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn On

1. Thermostat Issue

Without your thermostat, your air conditioning system has no idea what to do. The thermostat is an integral part of the system because it is the main control panel. If it is broken or not working as well as it once did, it can’t tell your outdoor AC unit when to turn on and off properly because it doesn’t know or communicate the temperature setting.

If your thermostat is outdated, needs batteries, has a blank or broken screen, or some other common issues, that could be why your AC won’t turn on. Try changing the batteries first and if that doesn’t work, a fuse inside of your thermostat could be blown. It’s a good idea to contact an HVAC expert who can test the thermostat with a multimeter and repair the issue.

2. Circuit Breaker Tripped

Circuit breakers are designed to protect your home from a fire. They do this by tripping when they’re receiving an electricity overload. A tripped breaker could mean you’re using too many appliances at once or an outdated appliance is using more power than it should.

Your AC unit should be on its own separate breaker from anything else in the home to avoid overload. If this is not the case for your AC system, this will definitely create issues. If your AC system is on its own circuit breaker and still continues to trip, there may be an issue with the unit itself.

Working with a power source is very dangerous and should be handled by a trained and licensed professional. If you’re experiencing this problem, be sure to call the experts.

3. AC Disconnect Shut-Off Switch

An AC disconnect switch is a power switch outside of your home between the outdoor unit and the breaker box. It is there for safety reasons and is intended to be used by a qualified technician to shut off power to your unit for maintenance or repairs. Please note, this switch is not intended to turn on and off your HVAC system during the normal course of operation.

In some cases, there are disconnect switches for both your inside unit and your outside unit. If one of these switches is accidentally turned off, your AC unit will not turn on. Check to see if both switches are in the on position. Even if they are, it is possible to have issues with power coming to the shut-off switch box and not running through to the unit. Again, this is an issue that must be handled by a trained and licensed professional for your safety, so we do not suggest that you try to diagnose this on your own.

4. Clogged Air Filter

The air filter for your AC unit is designed to allow air to flow through easily while trapping most of the particles in the air and preventing them from being circulated through your home. A dirty filter will begin to restrict airflow and a particularly dirty filter may stop air flow altogether. This issue is easy to fix on your own and easy to maintain to avoid this problem. Check your air filter every 30-45 days and replace it if it is dirty.

5. Clogged Drain Line

Just like air filters get dirty, your unit’s condenser drain line gets dirty too. Debris like mold, algae, and other dirty buildups that aren’t cleaned regularly can clog the drain lines. Your air conditioner won’t turn on if the drain line is clogged. There could also be an issue with the condensation drain pump not working. If this is the case, the pump is not removing the condensation from the home. If the pump stops working, the AC unit will not turn on.

Cleaning a clogged drain line can be a little gross, but it’s not difficult to do. This line should be cleaned at least every three months. If your drain line is clogged, we would be happy to come out and clean it out for you. We also offer maintenance plans that include drain line cleaning.

6. Triggered Safety Feature

Most HVAC systems have safety features built in that are triggered by common situations that may damage or harm the system. These safety features typically include a condensate overflow switch and a drain pan safety switch. If either of these safety features is triggered, the system will need to be repaired and reset in order for your AC to begin working again.

Another possibility is that your unit has experienced a power surge, possibly from something power outages or storms. A trained technician can tell you if the system has been damaged or if it’s just as simple as hitting the reset switch.

7. Low Refrigerant

Low refrigerant could also be the reason your air conditioner will not turn on. Your AC unit may refuse to run without the correct level of refrigerant to prevent damage to the system. If your system has a refrigerant shortage, it’s because you have a leak somewhere. You will need to contact an HVAC technician to repair the leak and refill or recharge the refrigerant.

8. Failed AC Unit Capacitor

A failed AC unit capacitor prevents the outside unit from working properly. Evidence of a bad capacitor is that your AC stops blowing cold air and takes too long to even turn on to begin with. This is a repair or replacement for a professional.

9. Dirty/Frozen Evaporator Coil

Dander, dirt, and dust from our day-to-day lives can build up on the evaporator coils, condenser, or filter within your air conditioner. This can lead to your evaporator freezing as well. A dirty or frozen evaporator coil can ultimately lead to a total breakdown. If you see that your evaporator coil needs a good cleaning you can easily do this yourself. Just use a soft brush and gently remove any dust or debris. Regular maintenance will prevent this issue from arising.

10. Wiring Issue

The wiring issues possibilities that could be affecting your HVAC unit are many. When it comes to wiring, things can get complicated. If your home has old wiring, you have issues with breakers tripping regularly, lights dimming, or other odd electrical problems that are also affecting your HVAC unit, you should contact an electrician. Before doing that, it’s a good idea to have an HVAC technician run some diagnostic tests to rule out any other issues that might be causing your AC unit to fail to turn on.

11. AC Blower Motor Issue

An AC blower motor issue may be the reason your AC won’t turn on. Leading up to an issue like this or a total failure of the blower motor, you may hear loud operating noises, notice weak or absent air flow, have high energy bills, or experience your unit overheating. A qualified HVAC technician can diagnose and repair this issue for you.

Schedule An Appointment With a Professional Technician

At Dolphin Cooling and Heating, we offer 24/7 emergency service because we understand the importance of a working air conditioner in SWFL. When you call us for a diagnosis and repair, the first thing we’ll do is talk to you about the issues you’re experiencing. If you haven’t already checked for the simple and more obvious potential issues like your thermostat settings, checked for a dirty air filter, tripped circuit breaker, clogged condensate drain line, and safety switches, we will offer you guidance and be happy to schedule a technician to check these things and beyond for you.

Dolphin Cooling has been in operation as an HVAC contractor since 1998 and has years of experience in the diagnosis and repair of HVAC systems. We know the most common reasons for HVAC failure may seem simple to us but can be complicated and stressful for you. That’s why our technicians are trained to not only repair your system but to also walk you through the process and keep you informed so you feel at ease with your repair.

If your current indoor temperature will not stay regulated, we are here for you! Give us a call or contact us online to schedule an appointment.