There are several possible reasons why your air conditioner won't turn on when it gets hot out. The issues range from basic setting mistakes and maintenance issues to refrigerant leaks and electrical problems. You can fix some of these yourself.
And, even if you do need to call a professional, noticing and identifying the problem quickly can make a big difference. With some issues, particularly a refrigerant leak, time is of the essence.
In these cases, a fast repair can prevent the problem from getting bigger and more expensive to repair.
We'll walk you through the four most common problems that prevent your AC from turning on when it should. This way, you can make your home cool and comfortable again as fast as possible.
You'll also know right away if you need to call for AC repair — and how to give the most accurate information possible when you speak with them.
Then, we'll touch on how to prevent problems such as this one.
Meanwhile, if the central air in your Fox River Valley home won't turn on, or is having other problems, call Compass Heating and Air at (630) 504-8688. We've served Bloomingdale, Carpentersville, East Dundee, and other nearby towns for more than a decade.
The four things to check for when your air conditioner won’t turn on are:
The most common — and easiest to solve — problem is a thermostat that's not set correctly. It's easy to forget to change the settings after you haven't used or heating and cooling system for a while. Or there's a simple electronics issue you can fix.
Start by making sure you're set to "Cool" and not "Heat." Even if you set the temperature for cooling, the system won't click on if you're still set on heating mode.
In that case, it's waiting for the temperature to drop under the call setting so it can turn on your furnace. AS it gets hotter and hotter, however, that won't ever happen.
The next step is to change your thermostat's batteries. If the power's running low, it may send incorrect signals or no communication to your central air.
A clogged air filter can result in your AC not turning on. If there's enough dust and dirt in the filter, little or no air passes through to the evaporator coil inside the system. When that happens, your central air and furnace recognize there's no air and won't turn on.
Sometimes, you'll notice your system short-cycling for a while before this happens. That's when it keeps turning on and off every few minutes.
In those cases, it's either getting minimal airflow or is overheating by trying to work when there's no air coming through. Either way, the next step is for the system not to turn on at all.
Pull out the cloth filter and check the screen on it. Is it still mostly white, or is it now dark gray with a lot of dust visibly built up on it?
If it's the latter, you've likely found the problem. Put in a brand-new filter and see if the system turns on. If it does, you're all set.
To avoid this in the future, change the filter every month when the furnace or AC is running. Then, put in a new one every 12 weeks between heating and cooling seasons.
A power surge or other electrical problem may have triggered a safety shutoff somewhere in or outside the system. While there's not much you can do yourself about a wiring problem on the furnace or outdoor condenser, you can still check around for basic and easy-to-address issues.
Check your electrical box for any tripped breakers. If you see one, flip it back and see if the system turns on in a few minutes. If it keeps tripping, there's a bigger problem somewhere. But, it may have been a one-time occurrence.
Next, inspect your outdoor unit. Look for any disconnected, frayed, or otherwise damaged wires. As a last resort, you can remove the panel on your furnace and visually inspect the wiring for any broken connections.
We don't recommend trying to fix any wiring issues yourself. But, you can give better information to your HVAC contractor if you come across anything.
A refrigerant leak can eventually lead to your air conditioner not turning on at all. Usually, you'll get warm air coming through the vents first. That occurs when air passes over the evaporator coil, but there's no refrigerant to draw the heat out of it before it recirculates through your house.
Once again, this isn't an issue you can fix yourself. But, if you catch it early enough, you may save some money on the repairs if your contractor can plug the leak before you lose too much coolant.
Check around the outdoor condenser for visual signs of damage to any lines. Listen for a hissing sound or a chemical smell. You won't see any coolant leaking because it will be in gas form. But, you can smell it or hear the line losing pressure from the leak.
Call your HVAC contractor right away if you notice either of these symptoms.
The best way to avoid a problem like your air conditioner not turning on is to get a tune-up for your air conditioner in the spring. You'll head off any potential problems with a thorough inspection. And, you'll get better cooling and lower electric bills all summer.
Along with checking all the connections and parts inside your system, a tune-up includes repairing anything that's broken, replacing parts that are getting old, and optimizing the system.
Your tech will notice any electrical connection issues, for instance, and change the filter before you start using the AC they'll also take readings to spot any refrigerant leaks or other unseen problems.
Compass Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. has been the trusted name for fast, reliable AC repair in Bloomingdale, IL and across the Fox River Valley for more than a decade. Click below to schedule an appointment or call us at (630) 504-8688.