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What To Look Out For With a Faulty Air Conditioner

air conditioner not turning on
Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s 76 degrees with humidity ranging in the high 80’s and your air conditioner won’t turn on; frustrating, to say the least. You could be experiencing a common problem as a result of a faulty air conditioner. Although it is tempting to try and fix it yourself, your best (and safest) option is to call an air conditioner expert near you. We don’t want you to be sitting with an unresponsive air conditioner so let’s look at the most common air conditioner faults homeowners experience and ensure it doesn’t happen to you.

Common Air Conditioner Faults

After years in the industry, we’ve seen it all. Some of the time, the problem is a small fix and won’t require a call-out by a professional. For more serious issues with parts like your circuit breaker or motor, we at Art Plumbing, AC & Electric offer an emergency hotline to get you back to cooler temperatures.

Circuit Breaker Faults or Wiring Issues

Circuit breakers prevent your unit from receiving an overload of electricity by shutting off. If your circuit breaker has tripped it means that there may be too much electricity usage throughout the house, like having many appliances running at once. If your circuit breakers trips, your AC won’t turn on. We suggest lessening the electricity usage elsewhere in your home. However, if the circuit breaker keeps tripping, this could be an indication of a bigger issue.

On the other hand, if you have a wiring fault in your home it may affect your AC which is why it isn’t turning on. Signs of wiring issues include flickering lights and humming sounds from appliances. You will need to have your home wiring checked and the source of the fault repaired. An electrician will begin by running a diagnostic test to locate the fault and repair it. After that you’ll be on your way to having your AC running smoothly again.

Don’t delay in addressing a circuit breaker trip or wiring issue as soon as you detect an issue as it could escalate into something more serious, costing you more than necessary.

Condensate Drain Pipe

A clogged drain pipe may be preventing your AC from turning on. The condensate drain line is responsible for draining the condensation away from your AC that is created while your system is running. If this can’t be done due to the clogging, there is a safety switch that will be activated and your system will shut off. Depending on the extent of the blockage, it is possible to unclog your AC drain pipe without the need for a professional.

On the other hand, if your AC uses a condensate drain pump to carry the excess water from your home, then you need to check that your pump is still working. As with an AC drain pipe, the safety switch will activate and shut the unit down if the pump stops working.

Issues with Essential Parts 

  • Motor: An obvious sign that your motor is not as healthy as it should be is if you hear strange sounds when your AC is running. It will eventually stop working altogether and if you’re already at this stage, you will need to have a professional inspect the motor to find out whether it just needs a simple repair or an entire replacement. This is done through the use of a capacitor test which is best handled by a professional to avoid causing any harm to yourself. After all, this is electricity we are working with and although it may be tempting to save a few dollars by doing it yourself, innocent negligence can occur.

  • Clogged air filter: Air filters should be changed regularly to prevent a build-up of debris and dirt. The main function of air filters is to ensure that there is proper airflow. When your AC is functioning optimally, it absorbs humidity from your home and water droplets will be caught by the condensation tray and then drained through the drain lines and exit outside. If your air filters are dirty and clogged, these water droplets freeze and your coils will be covered in ice which means your AC cannot run.

  • Evaporator coils:  Like the air filter, dirty evaporator coils are a result of debris and dust build up, which is a common occurrence from day-to-day usage. However, if this is left and not cleaned it will also cause your coils to freeze. Because the evaporator coils absorb the warm air in your home, it cannot function at its best with even a thin layer of dust on the coils as the dust keeps the heat in.

  • Blown fuse:  A multimeter will be used to do a continuity test to check for blown fuses. Fuses are easy to replace and are not expensive. You will need to test all fuses. The multimeter should beep on all functioning fuses. If this is not the case then your fuses are blown and will need replacing.

  • Thermostat Issues: The thermostat is one of the most important parts of your AC. It forms the control panel of the system. Thermostat issues that may prevent your AC from turning on include it being outdated, blank, broken, or requiring new batteries.

Preventing a Faulty Air Conditioner

The simple answer to preventing a faulty air conditioner is regular maintenance. By having a professional electrician do regular checks on your AC, any faults or potential faults, will be located and corrected. Preventative maintenance will also save you money in the long run as making small repairs and replacements to keep your AC running smoothly saves them from becoming bigger problems that could affect the whole system. If your AC is subject to any electrical wiring issues, it may affect the rest of your household, putting your home in a potentially dangerous situation. Regular checks will work toward stopping this from happening. However, there are a few things we suggest you check to help prevent AC faults:

  • You can try resetting your air conditioner via the reset switch located near the outside unit. If you don’t have a reset switch turn off your air conditioner at the thermostat and wait for 5 minutes before switching it on.

  • Alternatively, check that your shut-off switch is actually on and hasn’t been turned off.

  • The power to your indoor blower may be off.
    • There may be a switch that has been mistaken for a light switch or other, and has been turned off. Double check that the switch is in fact on.

Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric are industry experts when it comes to this type of maintenance. Not only do we understand that you as the homeowner have many things to take care of, but we also advise you on the most cost-effective and practical solutions for your home, and cater to emergency AC repairs. Your AC plays an integral part in the comfort of your home and we want to keep it that way.


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