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Reasons Your Air Conditioner Isn't Turning On

Unexpected malfunctions in your commercial air conditioning system can be a cause for concern. There are numerous reasons why your air conditioner might not turn on, many of which can be resolved relatively easily and inexpensively. The following are some of those reasons, along with a few suggestions for solving or preventing the problem.

  • Incorrect thermostat settings: If the temperature settings at the thermostat are incorrect, the air conditioner will not turn on. The A/C will also not turn on if the thermostat is in heating mode instead of cooling mode. Check the thermostat to make sure that an error in settings isn't causing the problem. This issue can be solved quickly and at no cost with simple changes to thermostat settings.
  • Tripped circuit breaker: A tripped circuit breaker could be preventing power from getting to your air conditioner. Breakers can trip for many reasons, including power surges, so a single occasional instance should not be a cause for alarm. Reset the breaker and see if your air conditioner will function. If the breaker keeps tripping, it may need attention from an electrician.
  • Clogged air filters: Air filters are relatively inexpensive and seemingly minor pieces of HVAC equipment, but a clogged filter can cause significant problems in an air conditioning system. A blocked filter can restrict airflow enough to cause the A/C to not work properly. In severe cases, it can even lead to damage to the system's internal components. Put in a fresh, clean filter and try to start your air conditioner again.
  • Thermostat failure: If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure the thermostat is operating properly. A blank screen on the thermostat most likely means that the batteries have gone dead and need to be replaced. If the thermostat still continues to show a blank screen after putting in new batteries, or if the thermostat itself doesn't seem to be working properly, it may need to be to be replaced.
  • Thermostat positioning problems: The physical location of the thermostat can have an effect on how well it works and whether or not it can turn on your air conditioner. If the thermostat is in a location where it takes incorrect temperature readings of the inside of your building, it may not activate the air conditioner when needed. If necessary, move the thermostat to a spot where it will get more accurate information on indoor temperatures.
  • Malfunctioning controls or sensors: The controls of your air conditioner can wear out and stop working, which will keep your A/C from starting. It may be possible to have these controls replaced, but that will require a repair visit from your HVAC professional.
  • Blower motor malfunction: The blower motor turns the power fans that force cool air into your building's ductwork and into the interior of your commercial space. If the motor isn't working, the A/C may not turn on or, if it does, it won't produce the amount of cooling you expect. The solution may be as simple as replacing a loose or broken belt on the motor. However, if the motor itself is bad, it will need to be replaced or repaired. Talk to your HVAC professional about your options. If the cost of replacing the motor amounts to half or more than the price of a new air conditioner, you would be better off replacing the A/C completely.
  • Insufficient maintenance: A neglected cooling system will not perform properly and will lose efficiency, causing unnecessary increases in your monthly costs. Pre-season preventive maintenance can head off many of the problems mentioned above by letting your HVAC pro make needed adjustments and minor repairs.

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