Reasons Your AC Stopped Working Over Winter
Air conditioner season is arriving soon and now is the time to make sure your home’s AC is ready! Older air conditioners, or those that haven’t had regular tune-ups, sometimes ‘mysteriously’ stop working over the winter. We’ll explore six reasons for the mystery, and a few ways to prep the system for spring and summer.
6 Reasons Your AC Won’t Turn on After The Winter
If your AC system doesn’t turn on because of any of these reasons, or one not listed, call an HVAC company to troubleshoot the issue before the temperatures rise.
1. Thermostat on the fritz
Make sure the thermostat batteries aren’t flashing a low battery indicator. It’s simple enough, but we’ve met many homeowners who fear the worst when new batteries solve the problem. Switch out the batteries, turn the system on, and wait a minute to see if the air conditioner kicks on. Or, triple check the thermostat is set to the cooling mode and not still in heating mode.
2. Dirty air filter blocking airflow into the system
Again, it sounds unbelievable. But every year, many air conditioners won’t turn on after a winters’ hibernation because of a clogged air filter. Take a look at the air filter and even if it doesn’t seem too dirty, replace it with a new one. The system needs an adequate intake of air for the refrigerant to absorb ambient heat and stop the evaporator coils from freezing over.
3. Leaking refrigerant
As mentioned, the refrigerant in the AC absorbs heat from the air coming into the system. In return, and through a series of changes to its chemical state, the refrigerant creates condensation that leads to cool air in your home. But, age, wear and tear, defective parts, and several other reasons can cause the AC to leak refrigerant. When the level becomes low enough, the remaining amount isn’t able to absorb enough heat, the coils freeze up, and the entire system shuts down.
4. Weather damage from wind and rain
Many condenser units are left uncovered during the winter. Winds send dirt, sand, and yard debris into the condenser, clogging up drain lines, coating evaporator coils, and possibly jamming fan blades. With many sensors in the air conditioner, if these parts are unable to function as designed, the sensors send a message to the control board to shut down the air conditioner.
5. Tripped breaker or blown fuse
Though rare, it’s possible for a circuit breaker to trip or fuse blows without the air conditioner operating. Start by checking the fuse box — if one has blown, replace it and insert a new fuse. If the AC doesn’t work after replacing the fuse, move to the circuit breaker box.
6. Emergency shut-off switch flipped
Many air conditioners have a shut-off switch installed near the outdoor condenser unit to quickly shut the system down for an emergency. But, most of these switches are in an exposed location where they can be flipped by bumping into it. If you or someone else has been near the condenser recently, look at the switch and flip it to the on position if necessary.
Prepare AC for Spring
No matter the age of your air conditioner, give it a helping hand by preparing the system for spring and summer use with these tips.
Clean debris around the condenser
Remove any debris that collected around the condenser during the winter and trim back bushes, shrubs, plants, and trees. The condenser needs at least two feet clear for each side; the distance is necessary for proper airflow so the unit doesn’t overheat while transferring out hot air.
Change the air filter
The air filter in an HVAC system should be changed every two to three months, or sooner if you live in a dusty environment. You can find the filter’s dimensions on the sides, and most department and hardware stores carry various sizes of air filters.
Schedule a tune-up
Being idle for several months is a perfect reason to schedule a tune-up for your air conditioner. These appointments give an HVAC technician ample time to thoroughly look over the indoor and outdoor parts for existing and potential issues, make any necessary repairs, and give you the peace of mind the system will work for the upcoming season.
Avoid the myriad of reasons why your AC won’t turn on after winter with regular maintenance and timely repairs from a trained HVAC professional. Contact Bell Brothers today to schedule an air conditioner tune-up.