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Troubleshooting Tips When Your Air Conditioner Won’t Turn On

Posted on August 2, 2022 by admin

Here in the Midwest, the summer temperatures can get pretty brutal. The last thing you want is an air conditioner that quits on you in the middle of a 100 degree day. Having a well-running AC unit is essential to maintaining comfortable temperatures in your house. On really hot days it becomes even more vital to ensure that your home’s air conditioner is able to keep up with the high-heat demands, thus keeping you and your family safe from the dangers of the sweltering heat. Lancaster Brothers Heating & Cooling is located in Stilwell, Kansas, and has been serving the greater Kansas City Metropolitan area for over 20 years. Read on for some simple troubleshooting tips to try if you are faced with an air conditioner that won’t turn on. 

Power Issues

If your AC unit isn’t turning on we recommend first ruling out any power issues that could be causing the problem. The power issues that could be related to your air conditioner could be a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse, depending on your home’s electrical wiring and particular air conditioner system. In order to begin this process, make sure your thermostat is set to ‘cool’ and then adjust the desired temperature setting to 5 degrees below the current indoor temperature shown on the thermostat. If your air conditioner does not turn on, a power issue may be the cause.

1. Circuit Breakers – Locate your home’s electrical panel to see if any of the circuits have been ‘tripped’, or are switched off. If your circuit breakers are labeled, you can reset the air conditioner breaker by switching it off and back on. 

2. Fuses – Some AC units have a disconnect box located nearby. This disconnect box typically houses fuses and if one is blown, there is a pretty good chance that it is the source of your air conditioner issues. CAUTION: If this is the case, you should contact HVAC professionals to replace the blown fuse, as any removal or replacement of these fuses requires that the main power be shut off and can be very dangerous. For questions, concerns, or help with these issues in the Kansas City area, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (913) 851-3399

Additionally, if the power issues discussed above turn into a recurring problem, it could be an indication that your AC system has more serious problems and is in need of professional repairs or replacement. You should contact your HVAC professionals for further assistance. 


Occasionally, the problem with a non-working air conditioner lies within the thermostat. To troubleshoot your thermostat, the obvious first step is to check that the screen is on. If it’s not and if there is a thermostat power switch, check that the switch is on, or flip the switch off and then back on. If the screen still does not display, you may simply need to replace the batteries. If battery replacement does not do the trick, you may need a new thermostat. It is recommended that you call a professional to install the new thermostat and get your AC back up and running. 

Reset The Unit

Depending on your air conditioner, there is typically one way to reset your AC unit, which is a thermostat reset. Simply turn your air conditioner off at the thermostat, wait five minutes and turn it back on again via the thermostat settings. 

If resetting causes the unit to switch on, just keep an eye on things. If the problem is recurring, you probably have a bigger issue that requires professional HVAC repairs. If you notice that the unit runs for a while and you have to reset it again and again, contact your HVAC professional for a service visit.

Inside Power Switch

Another troubleshooting tip we recommend is to check the inside power switch that controls the power to your furnace and indoor blower. Many homes have a switch near the furnace. Sometimes this switch is tucked away out of sight, or it could be out in the open. Since these switches often look like a simple light switch, it’s not uncommon that they get switched off accidentally. This will ultimately cause your entire AC system to shut down. Simply flipping the switch back on could solve the problem. We recommend that you label this switch to prevent inadvertent shut offs in the future.

Clogged Condensate Drain

As your AC unit works to cool your home, condensation builds within and around its components. The condensate drain is the drainage line connected to your inside AC unit that runs to the outside. This directs the moisture drainage away from the AC components, which is important for them to function properly. Without adequate drainage, the condensation builds and eventually will freeze, causing damage. If your AC unit won’t turn on and you have tried the other troubleshooting tips mentioned previously, you can check for signs of a clogged condensate drain, such as the following:

  • Musty smell near your indoor unit or coming out of the air vents.
  • Standing water close to the indoor unit.
  • Water damaged areas near the indoor unit.

Clearing your condensate drain line may be as simple as pouring some water (NOT bleach) in the pipe and ‘washing away’ whatever is causing the obstruction. In tougher cases, suctioning or snaking the drain may be necessary, but doing this can cause evaporator coil damage. We advise that you consult with HVAC professionals before you attempt to clear the drain yourself. 

Don’t Suffer In Silence!

If the troubleshooting tips above do not resolve your air conditioner’s problem, you don’t have to throw your hands up and accept defeat. Call a professional heating and cooling company to schedule a service visit so a trained HVAC expert can assess the problem and make any necessary repairs. These tips are related to the most common, easy to recognize issues that many AC units succumb to, but are certainly not the only problems that can affect your system. Some issues can only be diagnosed by trained HVAC technicians and are either too dangerous or too technical for non-professionals to try and tackle themselves. To do so could be harmful or could cause major damage to your air conditioner, resulting in additional costly repairs. 

The friendly and knowledgeable HVAC pros at Lancaster Brothers Heating & Cooling are here to help. If you have any questions, concerns, or want to schedule a service appointment, please don’t hesitate to reach out by calling us at (913) 851-3399. You can also submit a service request here, via our website. It’s our pleasure to help folks in and around Kansas City keep their homes comfortable in the Midwest summer heat. 

We hope these tips come in handy the next time your AC unit won’t turn on. The good news is you don’t have to sweat it out…give Lancaster Brothers Heating & Cooling a call today. From the simplest HVAC issues to the most complex, we’ll get your air conditioner up and running!

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