Air Conditioner Not Working: Troubleshooting to Resolution

If your air conditioner isn’t functioning properly, it can be frustrating and uncomfortable. Fortunately, many common issues can be resolved without the need for professional assistance. In this article, we will guide you through the troubleshooting process to help you diagnose and fix your air conditioner problems.

Initial Diagnosis

When your air conditioner stops working, it’s important to start the troubleshooting process with an initial diagnosis. This will help you to identify the underlying cause and determine the appropriate course of action.

There are several factors to consider when diagnosing an air conditioner that isn’t working. By following a systematic approach, you can effectively troubleshoot the issue and potentially resolve it without the need for professional assistance.

Power Checks

The first step in troubleshooting an air conditioner that isn’t working is to verify that it is receiving power. Check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in your electrical panel. Sometimes, a power surge or an electrical overload can cause the fuses to blow or the circuit breakers to trip, cutting off power to the air conditioner. By inspecting the electrical panel, you can quickly identify and rectify this issue.

In addition to checking the electrical panel, it’s crucial to ensure that the power switch for the air conditioner is turned on. Sometimes, due to accidental switching or power outages, the switch may be in the off position. By simply turning it on, you may be able to restore power to the air conditioner and resolve the problem.

External Signs

Inspecting the external components of your air conditioner is another important step in the initial diagnosis process. By carefully examining the unit, you can identify any signs of damage or obstruction that may be affecting its performance.

Start by checking the outdoor unit for any debris such as leaves, grass, or branches. Over time, these items can accumulate and obstruct the airflow, causing the air conditioner to work inefficiently or even stop working altogether. By clearing away any debris, you can improve the unit’s performance and potentially resolve the issue.

While inspecting the external components, it’s also essential to look for any visible leaks or loose connections. Leaks can indicate a refrigerant issue, which requires professional attention. Loose connections, on the other hand, can disrupt the flow of electricity and prevent the air conditioner from functioning properly. By tightening any loose connections, you may be able to restore the unit’s functionality.

By conducting a thorough initial diagnosis, you can gather valuable information about the state of your air conditioner and take the necessary steps to resolve the issue. However, if the problem persists or if you’re unsure about any aspect of the troubleshooting process, it’s always recommended to seek professional assistance. HVAC technicians have the expertise and tools to diagnose and repair air conditioner problems effectively.

Common Fault Areas

When it comes to air conditioners, there are several common fault areas that can cause them to malfunction. Understanding these issues will not only help you troubleshoot the problems but also save you from unnecessary expenses and frustrations.

One of the most common issues is related to the air filter. A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict the airflow, making your air conditioner work harder and reducing its efficiency. It is important to regularly check the filter and clean or replace it if necessary. By maintaining the filter, you can prevent many common issues and ensure that your air conditioner is running smoothly.

Another fault area that often causes problems is the thermostat. A glitchy thermostat can prevent your air conditioner from functioning properly. It is crucial to check the thermostat settings and ensure that it is set to the desired temperature. Sometimes, simply replacing the batteries or recalibrating the thermostat can resolve the issue and restore your air conditioner’s functionality.

These are just a few of the common fault areas that you may encounter with your air conditioner. It is important to remember that each air conditioning system is unique, and there may be other specific fault areas that can cause malfunctions. If you are unsure about the problem or unable to resolve it on your own, it is always recommended to seek professional help. A qualified technician can accurately diagnose the issue and provide you with the necessary repairs or maintenance.

Internal Mechanisms

The internal mechanisms of your air conditioner play a crucial role in its overall performance and efficiency. Understanding these components will not only help you diagnose and resolve potential problems but also give you a deeper insight into how your air conditioner works.

One of the common issues that can arise with the internal mechanisms is related to the fan. The fan is responsible for circulating the air and maintaining a steady airflow within the unit. If the fan is not working properly, it can significantly affect the cooling capacity of your air conditioner. To troubleshoot this problem, you should check for any obstructions or debris that may be preventing the fan from spinning freely. Sometimes, a simple cleaning or removal of the obstruction can resolve the issue. However, if the fan motor is faulty, it may need to be replaced to restore optimal performance.

Another critical component of your air conditioner is the compressor. The compressor plays a vital role in the refrigeration cycle by pressurizing the refrigerant and circulating it through the system. If the compressor is not functioning correctly, it can result in poor cooling performance and inefficient operation. To identify potential compressor complications, you should listen for any unusual sounds coming from the compressor. Grinding, rattling, or hissing noises can indicate underlying issues that require attention. Additionally, keep an eye out for signs of refrigerant leaks, such as oil stains or a sudden decrease in cooling efficiency. Addressing compressor problems promptly can help prevent further damage to the unit and ensure optimal cooling performance.

Understanding the internal mechanisms of your air conditioner empowers you to take better care of your unit and address any issues that may arise. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning or replacing filters, lubricating moving parts, and scheduling professional inspections, can significantly extend the lifespan of your air conditioner and maximize its efficiency. By staying proactive and knowledgeable about your air conditioner’s internal components, you can enjoy a cool and comfortable indoor environment all year round.

Circuitry and Wiring

Faulty circuitry or wiring can cause intermittent or complete failure of your air conditioner. Understanding these electrical components will help you troubleshoot and rectify the issues.

When it comes to the circuitry and wiring of your air conditioner, there are several key components that you need to be aware of. These components work together to ensure the proper functioning of your AC unit, and any issues with them can lead to a variety of problems.

One of the first things you should do when troubleshooting electrical issues with your air conditioner is to inspect the electrical connections and wiring. Look for any signs of damage, such as frayed wires or loose connections. Faulty wiring or electrical failures can prevent your air conditioner from receiving power or functioning correctly.

Electrical Failures

In some cases, you may encounter electrical failures that are not immediately visible. These can be caused by a variety of factors, such as worn-out wires or faulty components. To identify these issues, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how the electrical system of your air conditioner works.

Inside your air conditioner, there are various electrical components that play a crucial role in its operation. These include capacitors, relays, and contactors, among others. Each of these components has a specific function, and if any of them fail, it can result in your air conditioner not working properly.

Inspecting these components and testing them for proper functionality can help you pinpoint the source of the electrical failure. If you’re not familiar with electrical systems, it’s always best to consult a professional technician who can accurately diagnose and repair the issue.

Fuse and Breaker

In addition to inspecting the wiring and electrical connections, it’s also important to check the fuses and circuit breakers related to your air conditioner. These safety devices are designed to protect your AC unit from electrical overload and prevent damage to the system.

If you find that your air conditioner is not working, it’s possible that a fuse has blown or a breaker has tripped. In such cases, you can try resetting the breaker or replacing the blown fuse. However, it’s important to note that a blown fuse or tripped breaker is often a symptom of an underlying issue, such as a short circuit or a malfunctioning component.

When dealing with fuses and breakers, it’s crucial to follow proper safety procedures and ensure that you’re using the correct amperage for your air conditioner. Using the wrong amperage can lead to further electrical problems and potentially cause damage to your AC unit.

Remember, while troubleshooting electrical issues with your air conditioner can be challenging, it’s always best to seek professional help if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with performing the tasks yourself. A qualified technician will have the knowledge and expertise to diagnose and repair any electrical problems, ensuring the proper functioning of your air conditioner.

Refrigerant Dilemmas

The refrigerant in your air conditioner plays a crucial role in the cooling process. It is responsible for absorbing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside, allowing your air conditioner to cool down your home effectively. However, like any other component in your AC system, problems with the refrigerant can arise, leading to inefficiencies and reduced cooling capacity.

Understanding the common issues related to refrigerant can help you identify and address them promptly, ensuring that your air conditioner operates at its optimal performance. In this article, we will discuss two common refrigerant dilemmas: leaks and recharge needs.


One of the primary concerns when it comes to refrigerant is leaks. Over time, the refrigerant lines in your AC system may develop small cracks or holes, resulting in refrigerant leakage. These leaks can have a significant impact on the cooling performance of your air conditioner.

When refrigerant leaks occur, not only does your AC struggle to cool your home effectively, but it can also be harmful to the environment. Refrigerants, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), contain chemicals that can deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak in your air conditioner, it is crucial to contact a professional HVAC technician immediately. They have the expertise and tools to locate and repair the leaks, ensuring that your AC system operates efficiently and responsibly. Additionally, they can recharge the system with the appropriate amount of refrigerant to restore its cooling capacity.

Recharge Needs

Another common refrigerant dilemma is low refrigerant levels. If your air conditioner is not cooling efficiently or struggles to reach the desired temperature, it may be due to insufficient refrigerant. Over time, refrigerant can naturally deplete or be lost due to leaks.

To address this issue, it is essential to have a professional technician assess the refrigerant levels in your AC system. They will use specialized tools to measure the refrigerant and determine if a recharge is necessary. Recharging the system with the correct amount of refrigerant can restore its cooling efficiency and ensure optimal performance.

It is important to note that refrigerant recharging should only be performed by trained professionals. They have the knowledge and experience to handle refrigerants safely and accurately. Attempting to recharge the system yourself can lead to further complications and potential damage to your air conditioner.

Maintaining the proper refrigerant levels in your air conditioner is crucial for optimal cooling performance. Regular inspections for leaks and timely recharges, if needed, can help prevent inefficiencies and ensure that your AC system operates effectively. If you suspect any refrigerant dilemmas, it is always best to consult with a professional HVAC technician to address the issue promptly and responsibly.

Drainage Issues

The drainage system of your air conditioner is a crucial component that helps remove condensation and excess moisture. It plays a vital role in maintaining the optimal performance of your cooling system. However, like any other part of your air conditioner, the drainage system can encounter issues that may lead to water damage and reduced cooling efficiency.

Let’s delve deeper into some common drainage issues that you may encounter:


One of the primary culprits behind drainage problems is the presence of clogs or blockages in the system. Over time, dirt, dust, and other debris can accumulate in the drainage pipe or condensate drain pan, obstructing the flow of water. This obstruction can cause water to back up and potentially overflow, leading to water damage and potential system malfunctions.

To address this issue, it is essential to regularly inspect and clean the drainage system. Check the drainage pipe for any visible clogs or blockages. If you notice any debris or buildup, remove it carefully to restore the proper flow of water. By incorporating this simple maintenance task into your routine, you can prevent clogs and ensure the efficient operation of your air conditioner.

Pan Overflows

If you notice that the condensate drain pan is overflowing, it is a clear indication that there is a problem within the drainage system. An overflowing pan can be caused by a clog or blockage that prevents the water from properly draining. Additionally, misalignment or improper positioning of the pan can also lead to overflow issues.

To resolve this problem, start by inspecting the drainage system for any obstructions. Clear any debris or buildup that may be causing the blockage. Additionally, ensure that the condensate drain pan is correctly aligned and positioned to collect the condensation effectively. By taking these steps, you can prevent water from overflowing and protect your air conditioner from potential damage.

Remember, addressing drainage issues promptly is crucial to maintain the optimal performance and longevity of your air conditioner. Regularly inspecting and cleaning the drainage system can help prevent clogs and ensure the efficient removal of condensation and excess moisture. If you encounter persistent drainage problems or are unsure how to address them, it is always recommended to seek professional assistance from a qualified HVAC technician.

Noise Concerns

Air conditioners can produce various sounds during operation. However, certain noises can indicate underlying issues that require attention.


A rattling noise could indicate loose components or debris in the air conditioning unit. Check for any loose screws, panels, or fan blades. Remove any debris that may be interfering with the operation of the unit.


A humming sound can be caused by a faulty motor or compressor. If you hear a constant humming noise coming from your air conditioner, it may indicate a mechanical issue that requires professional attention.

Seasonal Factors

Seasonal changes can impact the performance of your air conditioner. Understanding the potential problems can help you anticipate and address them.

Winter Worries

During the winter months, your air conditioner may experience issues due to lack of use or exposure to cold temperatures. Before the start of the cooling season, perform a thorough inspection and maintenance to ensure that your air conditioner is ready for the warmer months.

Summer Overloads

High demand during the summer months can put a strain on your air conditioner. Consider implementing energy-saving measures to reduce the load on your system and prevent potential breakdowns.

Cost of Repair

Understanding the potential costs associated with air conditioner repairs can help you make informed decisions about whether to repair or replace your system.

Minor vs Major

Sometimes, air conditioner problems can be resolved with minor repairs such as replacing a faulty component. However, major issues such as compressor failures may require more extensive and costly repairs.

ROI Consideration

When evaluating the cost of repairs, consider the return on investment (ROI). If the repair costs are significant and your air conditioner is approaching the end of its lifespan, it may be more cost-effective to replace the unit.

DIY vs Professional Repair

While some air conditioner issues can be resolved as DIY projects, others require professional expertise. Understanding the factors can help you decide when to attempt repairs yourself and when to seek professional assistance.

Skill Requirement

Assess your own skills and familiarity with air conditioner systems before attempting repairs. Complex issues such as electrical failures or refrigerant leaks often require specialized knowledge and tools.


Attempting repairs without the necessary knowledge and experience can lead to further damage or safety hazards. Consider the potential liability and risks involved before deciding to undertake repairs yourself.

Warranty and Service Contracts

Check the warranty and service contract on your air conditioner to determine if the repairs are covered. Understanding the terms and conditions can help you navigate the repair process and avoid unnecessary expenses.

Validity Checks

Review the warranty to ensure that it is still valid and covers the specific issue you are experiencing. Some warranties may have limited coverage or exclusions.

Claim Processes

If your air conditioner is covered by a warranty or service contract, familiarize yourself with the claim process. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and provide all necessary documentation to expedite the repair or replacement.

Emergency Situations

In certain situations, immediate action may be required to prevent further damage or safety hazards. Understanding the appropriate steps can help you respond effectively.

Immediate Actions

If you notice smoke, burning smells, or other signs of electrical or mechanical failure, immediately turn off the air conditioner and disconnect it from the power source. Contact a professional technician to assess and address the issue.

Expert Availability

Having access to a reliable and knowledgeable HVAC technician can be crucial during emergency situations. Keep the contact information of a trusted professional handy for prompt assistance.

Long-Term Solutions

While troubleshooting and repairs are essential, taking proactive measures can minimize future issues and extend the lifespan of your air conditioner.


If your air conditioner is outdated or inefficient, consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient model. Newer units often come with advanced features and improved performance that can provide long-term benefits.

Preventative Measures

Maintaining regular cleaning and maintenance schedules can prevent many common air conditioner problems. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and hire a professional for annual inspections and tune-ups.


By following the steps outlined in this article, you can diagnose and resolve many common issues. However, it’s important to know your limits and seek professional help when necessary. Taking proactive measures and keeping up with regular maintenance can minimize future problems and ensure the optimal performance of your air conditioner for years to come.

Troubleshooting and understanding common air conditioner problems can help you maintain a cool and comfortable indoor environment. However, if you encounter persistent issues or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Cooling Company. Our experienced HVAC technicians are ready to address all of your HVAC needs. Call us today at (702) 567-0707 and experience reliable and efficient service for your air conditioning system.