Stay Cool: Steps to Take When Your AC Suddenly Stops Working

By: John Garcia | Date Posted: August 8, 2022

Discovering that your AC isn’t functioning properly when you return home on a hot afternoon or during peak summer can be frustrating. While there are some quick fixes for certain AC issues, many problems may require professional repair. In such cases, reaching out to a professional Air Conditioner Repair Service provider for inspection and repairs is advisable. This article outlines common reasons for AC malfunctions and guides what to do if your AC stops working.

Clogged Air Filter

Regularly replacing air filters is essential for AC maintenance. Clogged filters often cause inefficient AC operation or even complete system failure by blocking airflow. When your AC stops working, start by checking the air filter as it’s a common culprit before investigating other potential causes.

What to do?

The simple solution to this issue is to replace the air filter, which you should be doing regularly anyway.

Failed Compressor

There are some clear-cut signs of a failed compressor, such as the shaking of the unit, the unit blowing warm air instead of cool air, the unit frequently tripping the circuit breaker, or the unit making unusual noises while running. In extreme cases, the compressor could freeze or overheat.

What to do?

Issues with compressors should be dealt with by experienced technicians. If you think that the reason your AC stopped working is your compressor, then it’s best to let the professionals take over and avoid taking matters into your own hands.

Blocked Outdoor Condenser Unit

If the condenser coil of your AC is covered with leaves, dirt, and debris, then the heat transfer is obstructed, forcing the AC unit to work overtime, and running the risk of system failure. This usually happens when homeowners become careless about their lawns or don’t pay attention to outdoor landscaping.

What to do?

The precautionary measure for this issue is to maintain your lawn well and allow adequate space for your outdoor condenser unit. It should be frequently cleaned as well. In case of system failure due to a condenser, call professionals and let experienced people take a look at the unit.

Dead Batteries In Thermostat

At times, your AC stops working because the batteries in your thermostat are dead. This happens more frequently than you think. Your first clue to the thermostat being the culprit is that the screen of the thermostat would stop displaying any content. That should be your cue to take corrective measures.

What to do?

The first and the most obvious thing when your thermostat goes blank is to replace the batteries since it’s the most likely cause for the thermostat to stop working. If replacing batteries doesn’t fix the issue, then you would have to call the professionals.

Tripped Circuit Breaker

An overloaded circuit could cause a breaker to trip. If the system stops working suddenly, you could check if any of the breakers have tripped.

What to do?

If the reason why the AC suddenly stopped working is a tripped circuit breaker, then the simple solution is to reset it and start the AC again. However, if the same thing happens again, then you should shut down other appliances that could be contributing to the issue. If you are still unsure why the problem could be recurring, calling a professional is recommended.

Blown Fuse

Your AC could also stop working if there is a blown fuse between your AC and the thermostat.

What to do?

Fixing this issue is beyond anyone who hasn’t received special training. To ensure that you don’t end up making things worse for yourself, it’s best to let the professionals take the wheel on this one. Call up a technician if you think that the issue is caused by a blown fuse.

Dirty Indoor Or Outdoor Coils

Dirty Indoor Or Outdoor Coils

Dirty coils, whether indoor or outdoor, can hinder the proper circulation of cool air from your vents, especially when the thermostat is set to “cool.” Lack of regular servicing can lead to dirty coils, impacting the unit’s ability to efficiently remove heat from your home. This can result in the air circulating in your home remaining at the same temperature as the surrounding environment.

What to do?

To deal with this issue, the dirty coils would need to be replaced. You can call professionals and let them inspect the unit for full-fledged diagnosis and repairs.

Refrigerant Shortage

Low refrigerant levels are a common cause of AC malfunctions, as this cooling fluid is crucial for generating cool air. Leakages can lead to a decrease in refrigerant levels, necessitating repairs to restore proper AC function and airflow.

What to do?

This is another of those instances where you would have to consult a professional who would check the levels of refrigerant, detect causes of leakage, and take corrective measures.

5 Tips To Maintain AC

Air conditioners are very expensive. The only way to ensure that you don’t feel the need to replace your AC for at least ten years is to maintain the AC unit. While the technical maintenance part can be taken care of by professionals, homeowners can take certain steps to help their AC run smoothly. Here are some helpful tips to abide by –

  • Change air filters regularly (ideally once a month)
  • Keep the indoor and outdoor coils clean
  • Inspect the fins and ensure that they are not bent
  • Ensure the condensate drain is working properly
  • Stick to your AC maintenance schedule

You can easily prolong the AC’s life with proper maintenance and care. However, if it breaks down and you are unsure what to do, call in the professionals instead of a DIY solution.

Thank you for reading!


John is the founder and chief editor of Homienjoy. With over 15 years of experience in the home improvement industry, John is passionate about helping homeowners confidently tackle their projects. Holding a civil engineering degree and working as a contractor, project manager, and consultant, John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Homienjoy community.

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