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Reasons Why Your AC Unit Isn't Turning On

As we enter the spring season around Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah, home and building owners around the state are ensuring their air conditioning systems are set for the upcoming cooling season. What if you've arrived at this important time of year, and your air conditioner simply won't turn on?

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're here to help. We offer the very best air conditioning repair and maintenance services in the area, ensuring your system is set up for the hot part of the year that's ahead. What are some of the reasons your AC isn't turning on, and what can be done about them -- either on your own or with the help of our HVAC technicians? Here's a rundown.

AC unit isn’t turning on

Low Refrigerant Levels

One of the more common issues causing an AC to refuse to work, especially early in spring, is low refrigerant levels. The air conditioner's evaporator coils remove heat and humidity from indoor air as it passes over them. This process requires refrigerant, which cycles through the system and helps to transfer heat away from your home.

Over time, refrigerant can leak out of the system. This not only makes your AC less effective at cooling your home, but can also cause compressor damage. If you suspect this is the issue, it's best to call in a professional for repair.

Malfunctioning Thermostat

In other cases, the AC unit itself won't be at fault at all -- instead, it may be the thermostat. A malfunctioning or outdated thermostat can cause all sorts of problems, including AC units that refuse to turn on.

If you have an older mechanical thermostat, it's possible the internal components are simply worn out. In this case, it will need to be replaced. If you have a digital thermostat, it's possible the batteries are dead. Always check this first before assuming more serious issues are at play.

In many cases, these issues can be a good prompt to consider upgrading your thermostat to a newer, more efficient model. Smart thermostats are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer a range of features and benefits that can help you save money on your energy bills.

Clogged Filters

Another extremely common issue that can cause your AC unit to fail to turn on is a clogged air filter. As air passes through the system, it must first pass through the air filter. This helps to remove pollen, dust, and other particles from the air, keeping them out of your home.

However, over time these filters can become clogged with debris. When this happens, air flow is restricted and your AC unit has to work harder to cool your home. This puts unnecessary strain on the system, and can eventually lead to a complete shut-down.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to check and replace your air filter every few months. This is especially important if you have pets or someone in your home suffers from allergies.

Faulty Wiring

In some cases, faulty wiring can be the issue preventing your AC unit from turning on. Over time, wiring can become loose or frayed, especially if it's not been installed correctly to begin with. This can cause all sorts of problems, including shorts that prevent your AC unit from receiving the power it needs to operate.

If you suspect this is the issue, it's best to call in a professional for repair. Never attempt to fix electrical issues on your own, as this can be extremely dangerous.

AC Capacitor Failure

Another issue that can cause your AC unit to fail to turn on is a failed capacitor. The capacitor helps to provide the initial boost of energy needed to start up the compressor. When it fails, the AC unit won't be able to start up at all.

In most cases, a failed capacitor will need to be replaced by a professional. However, it's possible to test the capacitor yourself with a multimeter to see if it's working correctly.

Dirty Condenser

The condenser is responsible for releasing heat from the refrigerant as it passes through. Over time, the condenser coils can become clogged with debris, making it difficult for heat to be released. This puts strain on the system and can eventually lead to a complete shut-down.

To prevent this from happening, be sure to clean the condenser coils at least once a year. This is a relatively simple process that can be done with a brush and some cleaning solution.

Circuit Breaker Problems

Another issue that may be preventing your AC unit from turning on is a problem with the circuit breaker. In some cases, the breaker may have simply been tripped and needs to be reset. However, if the breaker continues to trip, this may be an indication of a more serious issue.

It's also possible the circuit breaker itself is faulty and will need to be replaced. If you suspect this is the case, it's best to call in a professional for help.

AC Age

Finally, there are cases where, rather than a single issue, the age of the unit is to blame. Over time, AC units will simply wear out and become less efficient. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire unit rather than attempt repairs.

If your AC unit is more than 10 years old, it's a good idea to have it inspected by a professional. They can help you determine if it's time for a replacement.

For more on the reasons why your air conditioning might not be turning on, or to learn about any of our HVAC, plumbing or electrical services, speak to the team at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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