• 7926 Breen Dr Suite B, Houston, TX 77064
  • Open all Week
    7:00 AM - 9:00 PM
24/7 Emergency Service


AC Won't Turn On

My AC Won’t Turn On – Is it Time for a New One?

My AC Won’t Turn On – Is it Time for a New One? Having a broken air conditioner during the sweltering summer months can be unbearable. As temperatures and humidity levels rise into the 90s or even 100s, you desperately try pressing the power button or twisting the temperature dial, but nothing happens. Your AC won’t turn on no matter what you try. Sweat drips down your forehead as you consider your limited options. Do you attempt a DIY repair or call in the pros for a new system? That could cost thousands!

Before making any hasty decisions, take a deep breath of that stagnant indoor air. There are a number of troubleshooting steps you can try yourself to get your air conditioner up and running again without replacing the entire unit. Arm yourself with the right information and a little mechanical know-how, and you can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repair costs.

This guide will walk you through the diagnostic process to pinpoint what’s wrong with your AC, common causes of air conditioner failure, and tips for cost-effective repairs. We’ll also discuss when it’s time to cut your losses and invest in a new cooling system for your home. Follow these AC troubleshooting steps to beat the heat:

Troubleshooting Your Air Conditioner: Where to Begin

Start your investigation by verifying the basics. Is your thermostat set properly to activate cooling mode? Confirm the thermostat itself is turned on and the current room temperature should trigger the AC to start blowing cold air. For example, if it’s 85 degrees inside, make sure the thermostat is set below that to around 75 degrees to initiate cooling. The thermostat may have malfunctioned or lost power from dead batteries. Test it with fresh AAA or AA batteries.

Next, check your main electrical panel for any tripped breakers or blown fuses related to your AC unit. The circuit breakers are normally labeled with “A/C” or something similar. Reset any tripped breakers by switching them fully off then back on. Replace any blown fuses like 30 amp fuses with new ones of the matching size. Faulty wiring and electrical short circuits can cause power issues.

Inspect your outdoor AC condenser unit. Look for any debris like leaves, grass clippings, dirt, or nests blocking air intake vents that may prevent proper airflow. Use a small vacuum or brush to remove any debris obstruction. The condenser coils should be clean – use a garden hose on a light setting and soft brush to clear any accumulated dust and grime that may reduce airflow.

Check that the service disconnect box is switched on. This will cut power to your AC system for safety during maintenance. Make sure it hasn’t been inadvertently turned off which would disable the AC. The disconnect box is normally located within sight of the exterior condenser unit.

With the basics covered, let’s explore several common reasons your AC won’t turn on at all and how to troubleshoot each scenario:

Electrical Problems: No Power to Your AC

If you’ve verified the thermostat settings, main electrical supply, and condenser unit are all working properly, electrical issues within the AC unit itself may be the culprit. Problems with the electrical control panel, fuses, starter capacitor, or wiring can prevent your AC from turning on by disrupting power supply. Here are the key electrical components to inspect and test:

Control Panel Board – The internal control panel contains relays, fuses, and circuit boards that control unit operation. Cracked circuit boards or burned out relays will disable the system. Check for any signs of overheating like scorched or melted spots, or failed components. Testing electrical continuity with a multimeter can isolate faults.

Fuses – Inspect the fuse box found on the control panel. Fuses help protect the AC’s delicate electrical components from power surges or overloads. Faulty compressors, fan motors, or shredded fan belts can blow AC fuses, disabling cooling. Replacing one burned out fuse may provide the quick fix you need.

Capacitor – The starter capacitor provides the jolt of power needed to initially turn on the compressor when the AC first activates. Bad capacitors unable to hold a charge will prevent start up. Use a multimeter to test capacitance or simply listen for any bulging or leaking oil from a failing capacitor.

Wiring – Frayed, cut, or burnt power cables can break electrical connections. Trace wiring between AC components, inspecting wire insulation for cracks, damage, or burn marks. Check terminals to ensure wires are securely attached without loose connections.

Refrigerant Issues: Low Pressure = No Cooling

The refrigerant contained in the pressurized lines is essentially the lifeblood of your air conditioner, responsible for absorbing and expelling heat. Any type of refrigerant leak will significantly lower system efficiency and capacity to provide adequate cooling. Typical causes include:

Damaged Hoses – The flexible rubber hoses connecting the various AC components can become cracked, brittle, and porous over years of seasonal temperature fluctuations and UV exposure. Listen for any hissing sounds of escaping refrigerant vapor around hose connections.

Leaky Joints – Sealed joints between fittings and lines may weaken and fail to hold refrigerant pressure over time. Coat connections with a bubble solution to check for leaks indicated by bubbles.

Compressor Failure – The compressor pressurizes the refrigerant to initiate the cooling process. If the compressor isn’t working properly due to electrical issues or failing parts, cooling can’t occur. Signs include low cooling performance or the AC not starting up.

Low refrigerant charge will activate your AC unit’s safety pressure sensor and automatically shut down operation to avoid equipment damage. Thoroughly visually inspect along all refrigerant lines and joints for potential leaks. If any leaks or holes are found, it may require soldering repairs by an HVAC technician to properly seal them. Adding refrigerant can recharge the system once any leaks are permanently fixed.

Mechanical Malfunctions: Moving Parts Break Down

Your AC unit relies on several mechanical components that must work together harmoniously for proper functioning. Age, wear and tear, and weathering eventually takes a toll on belts, valves, coils, seals, and other moving parts. Here are key mechanical parts to closely inspect:

Fan Belt – Spinning the condenser fan to vent hot air requires a tight fitting belt between the motor and blade. A loose, broken, or missing belt will disable the fan. Signs include squealing noises when started.

Fan Motor – Seized, burned out, or damaged fan motors fail to turn the condenser fan to exchange air. Testing electrical continuity through motor windings with a multimeter can verify operation.

Compressor Valves – Defective valves designed to control refrigerant flow through the compressor will reduce cooling capacity. Listen for any abnormal hissing or rattling noises during operation.

Evaporator Coils – Fins on the evaporator coils inside your home can become bent, crushed, or otherwise damaged over time, greatly reducing airflow and cooling efficiency. Carefully straighten any bent fins with a “fin comb” tool.

Drainage Issues – Clogged condensate drain lines will cause an overflowing drip pan and water damage, potentially shorting out electrical components. Flush drains periodically with hot vinegar and water solution to keep them clear.

Identify where any moving parts may be failing in your AC system. Fan motors, compressors, belts and valves all have a finite service lifespan and should be replaced as necessary by a professional to restore full operation.

Dirty Air Filters: Reduced Airflow from Lack of Maintenance

Don’t overlook one of the simplest explanations for an AC unit not turning on – clogged air filters. Air conditioners rely on constant airflow to exchange heat and maintain indoor comfort. When filters become packed with dust, pet hair, dirt, and debris, far less air circulates across cooling coils and performance suffers greatly.

Powerful AC motors must work harder against the increased resistance created by dense, dirty filters in order to move any air. This strains electrical components leading to burnt out fan motors, tripped breakers, or blown fuses. Dirty filters also put extra drag on fan belts which may eventually snap after prolonged strain.

Routinely replacing or cleaning air filters as part of regular AC maintenance allows proper air volume to be processed efficiently. Review filter status monthly during cooling season and change filters at least every 90 days, or more often if you have pets. Take this basic maintenance step before you assume the worst with an expensive AC failure.

When It’s Time for A New Air Conditioner

While many minor cooling issues can be addressed with basic repairs, there comes a point when an aging window or central air system is beyond cost-effective fixes. Here are some clear red flags signaling it’s time to replace your AC unit completely:

Age – Once an AC system reaches 10-15 years old, the cumulative effects of rust, wear, tear, and weathering lead to more breakdowns and greatly reduced efficiency. Newer systems can cut cooling costs by 30% or more.

Low R-22 – The EPA has phased out the AC refrigerant R-22 due to ozone concerns. As R-22 is discontinued in coming years, recharging very low systems will become difficult and prohibitively expensive.

Frequent Failures – If you find yourself regularly repairing the same components like fan motors or compressors in your AC year after year, it likely indicates an overall declining system prone to break downs.

High Energy Bills – Very inefficient AC systems that struggle to remove humidity often run continuously to try maintaining comfort, driving up electric bills. Excessive energy consumption is a clear sign of poor system performance.

Major Repairs – Once repair costs exceed 50% of the price of a new AC system, replacement becomes the more cost-effective and long-term option.

Upgrading to a new central air conditioning system powered by eco-friendly refrigerants presents an opportunity to achieve far greater energy efficiency and cooling comfort in your home. Work with professional local installers like Turbo AC Repair to remove your outdated system and select an appropriately sized new AC unit for your climate and square footage. Take advantage of off-season discounts in early Spring or Fall to maximize savings on a new system.

Beat the Heat: Get Your Cooling Repaired Before Summer

Sweaty summer days stuck sweltering inside an overheated home will soon be upon us all. Now is the ideal time to thoroughly troubleshoot any lingering issues with your air conditioning system and perform necessary repairs before peak cooling demand arrives. Arm yourself with the diagnostic tips outlined here to isolate and fix common AC problems related to electrical faults, refrigerant leaks, mechanical breakdowns, and lack of maintenance.

Knowing when a minor repair or service is needed versus unavoidable replacement of the entire AC unit will help you minimize costs and disruption. With some basic troubleshooting and TLC given to your existing air conditioner, you can keep your cool all summer long and hold off major expenditures for replacement for as long as possible. Don’t wait until the brutal dog days of summer when repair companies are totally booked up! Schedule a comprehensive AC tune-up and inspection right now with the experienced technicians at Turbo AC Repair by calling (281) 626-5938 to ensure your system is operating at peak performance before heat waves hit. If you need help with plumbing visit us at www.turboplumbing.net . Stay comfortable this summer and avoid the worst of the heat with a properly functioning air conditioner.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.*