Why Did My Air Conditioner Suddenly Stop Working?

Once the muggiest days of summer arrive, all you want to do is lounge around basking in the glow of an AC unit. But what happens when that unit simply refuses to function properly. Worse: What if it straight up stops working for absolutely no reason? If you’ve found yourself in this situation, don’t worry. AC units can be temperamental, especially if they’re older. Just because your unit suddenly stopped working doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. While taking in your unit to Bradley Mechanical HVAC service every so often is a great way to keep your AC working its best and keep your home heating bills low, a non-functioning AC might not need a full rehaul in order to start working again. If you’re dealing with a broken AC that simply stopped working out of nowhere, there are steps you can take to figure out what kind of problem you’re actually dealing with. Before you call your local repairman, here are a few things to consider.

Water Rising

AC units come with built-in evaporation systems to make sure that water doesn’t end up collecting in the machine. However, when these systems fail, you’re faced with a lot of unpleasant standing water in and around your machine. The easiest way to tell if this is the problem you’re facing is to check for any dripping under, in, or around your unit. It doesn’t have to look like flooding. Even a small drip could pose a very big problem. An easy way to check for dripping or flooding without dismantling your machine is to identify the drain lines and make sure they’re all connected and clear. If your unit is on the first or ground floor and you have access to the outside where the machine is connected, you can follow the path clearly and see if anything is in the way of your draining system. You can also use this time to check the back of the unit itself to see if there’s anything blocking your system. Even small things like leaves and twigs can end up interfering with how your AC works, so always be sure to clean this area if you have access to it.

Your Sensor is Responding to a Problem

Your AC unit comes with a built-in sensor that acts as a safety guard to prevent it from overriding any dangerous situations. A sensor will react to rising water levels or a flogged filter by simply shutting down your machine and not allowing it to turn on again. Though you should always listen to your sensor and call in a professional when this happens, you can also try to address the problem by making sure your unit is draining, checking the inside of the machine for standing water, and removing the outermost layer of the unit to check for any lint buildup. Since your unit is filtering in outside air, it needs to be cleaned regularly in order to function properly. If you’ve forgotten to empty your unit’s lint filter, it could end up triggering your sensor and shutting down. Don’t worry: This is actually a good thing. Rather than having your machine overheat and create a fire hazard, you’ll be able to call a technician to address the problem quickly.

Your Thermostat is Acting Up

Sometimes the issue is as simple as a tripped circuit breaker. If you’ve tried unplugging your unit and plugging it back in, as well as trying to lower the temperature manually by a few degrees, your next step should be to check on your thermostat to see if it’s communicating with your heating and cooling devices. Sometimes thermostats can lose touch with heating and cooling units after a power outage, and smart thermostats can often become glitchy, resulting in lost communication with your AC. An easy way to address this issue is to turn your thermostat on and off, try resetting your breaker or turn on your home heating system to see if it’s still responding to commands from your thermostat. If your thermostat can control your home heating but not your AC unit, your unit is to blame. You can try disconnecting and reconnecting the device if you have a smart thermostat, or trying to change the temperature slightly on your panel to see if anything is getting through to the unit. If nothing works, you may be dealing with a frozen coil in your machine. This will cause your unit to shut down completely until a technician is able to service it.


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