A/C system stop working? Simple fixes you can try first

26 Sep

So your A/C system isn’t working at all?  That doesn’t always mean expensive repairs.  In fact, there are many things a homeowner can check before even calling a service technician.  By checking over the following items,  you may be able to save yourself  from a hot day, while saving some money at the same time.

First thing you want to do is check the power source.  You’ll want to locate your breaker panel and identify the breakers associated with your A/C system.  Breakers are commonly labeled “A/C”, “A/H”, “Condenser”, “Air Handler”, “Furnace”, or “Compressor.” You could have up to two breakers, as split systems (and some package units) have separate breakers for the different parts of the system.  You will also want to check near the equipment for a service disconnect box that may contain additional breakers.  Once you have located all breakers, check that they haven’t tripped.  Many times after a strong storm or particularly hot day, we receive numerous calls that often turn out to be tripped breakers.  Even if the breaker doesn’t look tripped, you should try to reset it.  If the breaker immediately trips again, do not retry it, and you should call a service technician.  Several systems also have a built-in delay in case of a power failure and it could take up to 5 minutes for the system to reset and come back on.  If the system still does not come on after that time, you will want to check your thermostat.

There are many thermostats on the market today that require batteries.  If you are not getting a display on your thermostat, try to locate the battery compartment.  If it is not clearly labeled, check to see if it has a release clip to unsnap it from the wall.  Do not try to force it open as you may damage the thermostat.  If you determine that either your batteries are good, have been replaced, or that your thermostat does not take batteries,  you will want to check one more item.

The safety float switch.  If it has been a while since your last preventative maintenance, you may have a plugged drain line.  By today’s building code regulations, your unit should have some type of float switch shut off device.  Located at the air handler (inside unit) you should see a PVC pipe coming out of the unit.  Near this will be usually a small PVC fitting with some wires attached to it.  This is a sensor that detects a rise in the water level inside that drain pipe.  If the drain line becomes plugged, the water level rises, and the switch cuts off power to the system.  You should be able to easily lift the float switch out of the PVC fitting to check for backed up water.  You may want to prepare with some towels as the drain line may be backed up causing a rush of water pour out.  You can attempt to clean the drain line yourself if you own a wet/dry vacuum, by locating the outside drain pipe (usually near the outside unit) and vacuuming it out.  Sometimes a vacuum isn’t strong enough and can’t dislodge the clog.  In this instance, you will want to call for service.

If fixing these issues still does not get your system back up and running, there is probably something wrong that would require a service technician to investigate.  We have a staff trained to be service oriented and would love to help with any of your air conditioning needs.

Chris Crites
HVAC Specialist
Tropical Air of Central Florida


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