It’s getting close to that time of year when you start turning on your AC. But what about when you go to turn it on, and it won’t start? There are several reasons why this would happen, and in this blog, we will help you troubleshoot so you can get your AC up and running again. As an Albuquerque HVAC company, we’ve seen it all, so we know how to help you spot when it’s something you take care of on your own and when you need to hire a professional to help out.
Why Won’t My AC Start?
There are many reasons why air conditioners won’t start, and depending on your ability and your time, you may be able to troubleshoot a bit on your own. Of course, if you aren’t able to, or don’t have the time to look into it, you can always give us a call at Bosque Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing. We even offer emergency AC repair so we can get someone over to your house day or night, weekday or weekend, to get it fixed.
Another thing that prevents lapses in cooling is regular spring and fall HVAC maintenance. This is the perfect time of year to schedule this appointment because you might be getting ready to turn on your AC for the first time this year—or maybe you already have! At a spring maintenance appointment, not only do our techs do many safety checks and thoroughly clean your AC, but they also know which parts commonly break down and need replacement. They can replace parts proactively so that you don’t have a lapse in cooling.
Having said all that, here are 5 troubleshooting tips to try if your AC won’t start.
1. Change the air filter.
You hopefully know this is something you need to do every few months because filters get full of dust, dirt, animal hair, and other debris. If your filter is overly clogged and dirty, it can stop up the airflow. It can even stop your AC from turning on if it’s bad enough. So, one of the easiest things to check first is the filter. Pop a new filter in there and see if you get a different result. Also, at Bosque Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, we highly recommend electrostatic filters. While these filters have a higher price point, they last much longer because you can clean them. And they make your air much cleaner than traditional filters that you buy at the hardware store. Read our past blog about electrostatic filters and indoor air quality to learn more.
2. Check the thermostat.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but we see it all the time, and it’s an honest mistake. Especially at this time of year, when you still might be using your heater at night, double-check that your thermostat is set to “cool.” If it is, make sure that you’ve set the temperature to at least five degrees below the current temperature in the house. If it’s not, it might not be enough of a difference to make your AC kick on. And lastly, if your thermostat isn’t turning on at all, try replacing the batteries. Like anything that runs on batteries, they do die periodically, and this is one quick and easy troubleshooting tip that will cause you to breathe a huge sigh of relief if it works! If you have a smart thermostat, your owner’s manual (or a Google search) might have other troubleshooting tips related to your specific thermostat.
3. Check the circuit breaker.
Especially if you’ve recently had a power outage or know that the breaker was tripped due to another appliance used in your home, it could have also tripped the breaker that the HVAC system is on. Check your circuit breaker and if you see a switch in the center position, try turning it off and on again. If it won’t turn on or stay on, it’s time to seek help from an electrician.
4. Look for ice on the AC unit outside.
No, we’re not talking about running the AC in the winter. If your refrigerant is leaking, that can cause ice to build up on the outside of the AC unit. If you see this, first things first, turn off the “cool” setting but make sure to leave the fan on. This will help the ice to melt. Then, wait for the ice to melt, and don’t try to help it along by scraping it off or using any kind of heating element. While this is happening, make sure to call your HVAC company so they can come out and fix the refrigerant leak. After the ice melts, you should be able to run your AC to keep your house cool while you are waiting for a technician to come out.
5. Make sure the exterior AC unit is clear of debris.
You can do a quick check on your own to make sure the unit isn’t covered with dirt, debris, leaves, and branches. Things can accumulate over the winter, preventing your AC from turning on that first time in the late spring/early summer. You can also clean the inside of the unit from debris, but we recommend hiring a professional to help with that. A savvy homeowner might be able to do the interior cleaning on their own, but most people need a hand with taking off the top cover, removing the fan, etc.
If you’ve tried all these things and your AC still won’t start, it’s time to call an Albuquerque AC repair company. As we mentioned, we do have emergency service, or can get you on the schedule if you can wait. A lot can happen to an AC system between that last time you ran it in the fall and the first time you fire it up in the late spring. That’s why we always recommend regular HVAC maintenance. These maintenance visits help you avoid costly repairs in the future and any cooling outages that leave you and your family uncomfortable. To get on our schedule for a spring maintenance appointment, give us a call at (505)444-7200.