How to Reset Air Conditioner When It Stops Working

When your air conditioner refuses to work, you can reset it like any other appliance or electronic on the fritz. Resetting your AC tells it to reconnect to the other unit or thermostat, a common problem that occurs after power outages or surges. Learn why and how to reset air conditioners from Hodgkins’ trusted AC repair technicians.

Why Reset the Air Conditioner?

AC units rely on power from your circuit breaker to run. You have an indoor unit and an outdoor unit that communicate, both with each other and with your thermostat, to cool your home in the summer. When a circuit breaker trips after a power outage or surge, the breaker flips off automatically to protect your home against electrical fires.

Simply switching your circuit breaker back on won’t always reset your air conditioner properly. If your AC blows warm air or won’t respond to changes on your thermostat, a reset can solve the issues.

How to Reset Your Air Conditioner

Many ACs have a small red button on the unit that automatically resets the system. Locate the button visually or check your owner’s manual to find it. Before you press it, flip the AC’s breaker and turn your exterior unit’s power switch to off.

Press the reset button for five seconds, then release it and turn on your AC’s power switch and breaker. Set your thermostat to cool and lower the temperature, then wait to see if your air conditioner responds with a cool blast of air.

What If My Air Conditioner Doesn’t Have a Reset Button?

Not all air conditioner units have a reset button, or maybe you can’t locate it and want to use a different method to restart your AC. Use these steps below to learn how to reset air conditioners that don’t have reset buttons safely and effectively.

1. Turn Off Your AC

Go to your thermostat and turn the air conditioning off. This action keeps communication between the unit and thermostat from happening without your control. You want the thermostat to wait until after you’ve reset your AC before it tries to cool your home.

2. Turn Off the AC’s Circuit Breaker

Locate your breaker box. Most breaker boxes look like a metal panel or box, often installed in basements, garages, or crawl spaces. Once you locate the breaker box, open it up and turn off the breaker assigned to the AC unit. 

3. Turn the AC Back On

After a full minute passes, turn your breaker back on. Wait 30 minutes, then turn your thermostat on to the “cool” setting. Set the temperature lower than the room’s current temperature and wait for the AC to kick on. Hold your hand over a vent and confirm that the system blows cold air.

Congratulations, you successfully reset your air conditioner!

Why Is My Air Conditioner Still Not Working After a Reset?

Sometimes resetting your air conditioner still won’t correct your HVAC problems. Common signs that your air conditioner needs more repairs than a reset include:

Blowing Warm Air

An air conditioner that pumps out warm air instead of cool may indicate a refrigerant leak or dirty coils, problems that require professional HVAC services to safely address and correct.

Short Cycling

When your AC kicks on and runs in consistent, short bursts, you have a short cycling problem. Besides running up your electricity bill, short cycling puts a lot of stress on your HVAC system and can cause further damage if it continues. You can try changing out the air filter after resetting your air conditioner to see if that helps the problem, but if that doesn’t fix it, you may have electrical problems or issues with your evaporator coils.

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Circuit breakers don’t trip unless there’s a dangerous electrical problem that could cause a fire. If your AC’s circuit breaker keeps tripping after a reset, call for professional air conditioner repair.

Professional Residential and Commercial AC Repair with JC Heating & Cooling in Hodgkins, IL

Knowing how to fix an air conditioner corrects many HVAC problems, especially if you recently experienced a power outage. Homeowners can utilize the reset button built into their unit or reset the system manually with the steps outlined above. Just as important as knowing how to reset air conditioners is knowing when to call for professional help.

At JC Heating & Cooling, we help home and business owners stay cool by providing air conditioner repairs, installation, and maintenance. Contact the licensed and insured HVAC techs at JC Heating & Cooling in Hodgkins, IL, by calling 708-968-3131.