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Ohio Cooling Problems? Try These Troubleshooting Tips

On a hot summer’s day in Cincinnati, it’s never fun to discover that your cooling system won’t turn on. The heat inside your home may feel overwhelming, especially if the fan on your cooling system isn’t running. Whether you rely on a heat pump, central air conditioning unit, or another mechanical cooling system, not having access to cool, dehumidified air can make it difficult to work, relax, or sleep inside your home, which is why it’s important to call for HVAC repairs.

If your cooling system fails to start, you could be having trouble with your thermostat, fan, pump, belt, or other internal cooling components, or even the electrical power supply. Use this convenient troubleshooting guide to help cooling to your home, so you can enjoy crisp, comfortable air even on warm summer days. If these steps don’t fix the problem, call for HVAC service right away to have a professional address any lingering issues with your cooling system.

Why Would My Air Conditioner Not Turn On? 

Air conditioners and heat pumps are high-tech appliances that have many moving parts. When your system won’t turn on, there could be several issues preventing proper cooling, including the issues listed below. Check these things before calling for professional repairs.

  • Power Problems
  • Thermostat Settings or Issues
  • Dirty Filters
  • Clogged Drainage Lines

How Can I Fix a Non-Functional Air Conditioner?

If your air conditioner isn’t working, try a few simple DIY troubleshooting steps to see if you can fix the problem without a professional service call. Oftentimes, homeowners can get their heat pump or central air conditioning unit up and going by making a few simple changes, saving time and money. Remember, if your system still doesn’t start, you can give us a call here at Thomas & Galbraith, and we will send someone out to diagnose your system.

Power Issues

If your air conditioner isn’t powering on, the cause could be as simple as a switch not being turned on and your system not being able to receive power. Before you start serious troubleshooting measures, it’s a good idea to inspect all of the switches that control the power of your system to see if the unit is receiving the energy it needs to start a cooling cycle. Check these three areas for power issues:

  • Check your thermostat to see if the unit uses battery power, as there may be dead batteries that need to be replaced. Sometimes, thermostat equipment isn’t hardwired and relies on internal batteries to power the thermostat. With a bad battery in the thermostat, your air conditioner wouldn’t receive the alert to turn on. Replace the batteries to see if it is now able to instruct your air conditioner to start.

  • Locate your main electrical panel and check the circuit breakers. If you find a breaker that is slightly out of place, it could be tripped. Reset the switch by flipping it OFF and then flipping it the other way so it sits in tandem with the other switches. If any switch is in the OFF setting, the electrical breaker tripped and should be reset.

  • Both the indoor and outdoor components of your air conditioner have ON/OFF switches or power breakers. Ensure that these switches are in the ON position.

Thermostat Problems

Think of your thermostat as the brain of a working air conditioner. If your thermostat develops problems or is set incorrectly, it is unable to trigger the cooling response your system requires to generate cooling for your home. Here are a few thermostat settings you should check if your air conditioner doesn’t turn on.

  • Ensure that your thermostat is set to COOL or HEAT AND COOL, depending on the thermostat. If your system is on HEAT, the air conditioning will not turn on, even if the ambient temperature increases. The Heat AND COOL setting is designed to make spring and fall more comfortable for homeowners since temperatures can fluctuate considerably during these times of the year. However, keep in mind that the temperature programming may need to be adjusted with both upper and lower limits to trigger appropriate heating and cooling.

  • Make sure that your thermostat temperature is set low enough that it triggers your air conditioner to turn on. The set temperatures should be a few degrees lower than the ambient temperature to trigger an air conditioning response.

  • If your thermostat doesn’t seem to be triggering the air conditioner to turn on, remove the thermostat face place and dust out the interior of the device. Dirt and grime buildup can interrupt signals, which could prevent your HVAC system from turning on. After you clean the interior of your thermostat, place the cover on carefully so all connections are appropriately seated.

  • When thermostat settings are appropriate, and your device is clean and properly installed, issues could be tied to a malfunctioning unit. Consider having an HVAC professional test your thermostat, and be prepared to replace your device if it doesn’t check out.

Grimy Filters

Air conditioners rely on appropriate airflow to cool the air inside your home. While HVAC filters are designed to trap fine particulates and allergens, they can start to impede airflow when they get dirty enough, which can cause your air conditioner to overheat. When your air conditioner overheats, the system may shut down temporarily as a safety precaution. If you have ruled out thermostat setting problems, battery power issues, and electrical problems, check your HVAC filter to look for issues.

  • Open the filter compartment and remove the filter from the cabinet. Typically, this compartment is located where the return duct meets the air handler.

  • Check the filter. If the surface is totally caked in pollutants, it is time for you to replace the filter.

  • If your filter isn’t completely gray, hold the filter up to a strong light source, such as a flashlight. If you find light coming through the other side, the filter can continue to be used.

  • Reinsert the usable filter or replace the dirty filter with a new one. Make sure you put the filter into the compartment appropriately, with the arrow on the side of the filter lining up with the direction air will travel through the filter.

While it can be easy to overlook clogged HVAC filters, make a point to check them at least once every four weeks or so. Keeping clean filters in place not only protects your indoor air quality but allows your system to easily push cooled air throughout your home.

Drain Line Clogs

Air conditioners cool air by moving warm air over cooling coils, rapidly chilling the air. However, this process also causes condensation to collect on the coils, which can drip down into a pan beneath the cooling coils. The side of the condensate drip pan has a hole with a drainage tube attached, allowing the moisture to drain away from your HVAC system.

Sometimes, this drainage tube can become clogged, and water can build up inside the system. When water levels get high enough, they can trigger a float switch, which halts the air conditioner to prevent damage. Here are a few things to check to ensure that your air conditioning unit is draining appropriately.

  • Remove the access panel from the side of the air conditioner where the evaporator coils are located. Find the drip pan and look to see if the area is full of water. If you can see standing water, there is a good chance the unit is not draining appropriately.

  • Shut off the power to your air conditioner by switching off the switch and electrical breaker.

  • Using a wet/dry vacuum, remove all standing water from the drip tray. Suction out the drain line opening to free any clogs close to the top of the line.

  • Locate the line exit, which may be near an indoor floor drain or outside your home. Attach the wet/dry vacuum again to section out the exit. You can also insert a small plumber’s snake to auger out the clog.

  • Inspect the drainage line for physical damage. Look for cracks, disjointed areas, or crushed spots. If you can spot damage, have the line replaced.

What if Your AC Unit Still Doesn’t Start?

Anytime your air conditioner stops responding appropriately to warm indoor temperatures, it’s important to check the system for simple issues like improper thermostat settings, irregular drainage, and lack of power. Make routine maintenance tasks like replacing HVAC filters simpler by keeping extras on hand.

Anytime your cooling system won’t turn on despite troubleshooting, the NATE-certified HVAC specialists here at Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling & Plumbing are available to help. Whether your system isn’t working properly because of a motor, fan, wiring problem, or other issue, our team can quickly and efficiently diagnose and resolve the problem.

We help homeowners every day during the summer with all kinds of air conditioning problems, ranging from cooling systems that won’t switch on to units that aren’t keeping homes cool and comfortable. Give us a call today to schedule a service call. We are happy to help you with your central air conditioner or heat pump.

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