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Reasons Your Air Conditioner Isn't Turning On

It can be an amusing relief when a silly mistake, such as a wrong thermostat setting, is the reason your air conditioner won't turn on. Unfortunately, that isn't always the case. However, there could be a simple solution why your A/C isn't cooling well or turning on. Keep reading to see if your troubleshooting answer is listed.

Check the Outdoor Unit

Before you start your air conditioner for the first time of the season, you should check the outdoor unit for obstructions. Did you cover it last fall before the Mid-Atlantic winter? Is the power disconnect unplugged? This also gives you an opportunity to clean the outdoor unit and remove debris that could obstruct airflow.

Change Thermostat Batteries

Is the thermostat display blank or flashing the battery symbol? Try a fresh set of batteries in the thermostat. When you remove the thermostat, take a look at the wiring to ensure the contacts are correct and attached. Lastly, make sure you set the thermostat to "cool" and "auto" fan modes.

Dirty Air Filter

Did you know that a clogged air filter can stop your air conditioner from working? If your A/C unit won't turn on, turns on and off too quickly or doesn't seem to be cooling at maximum capacity, check the air filter.

  • Dirty filters can cause ice to freeze up the evaporator.
  • Clogged filters can restrict airflow to the point that the ductwork shakes, the A/C shuts down and/or causes the blower motor to fail.
  • If your filter is dirty, clean or change it.

Clicking Noises

Your A/C uses plenty of electronics to make home cooling run smoothly. The thermostat sends a signal to the outdoor capacitor via the relay board. If you hear a fast clicking noise when you turn on the thermostat, the capacitor or the relay board probably needs to be changed.

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