There are very few frustrations for homeowners that rival an AC not turning on during some of the hottest days of the year. One situation rivaling that level of annoyance is calling a professional to help you remedy any problem in your home, only to find that instead of taking time out of your day to stay home for a few hours to meet the professional, the fix was something incredibly simple that you could have tackled yourself in a fraction of the time and for less money. In this article, we will run you through a checklist of things to try yourself before calling a professional if you find yourself with an AC not turning on.


A simple problem to rule out if you find your AC outside unit is not turning on is that you do not have a flipped circuit breaker. Locate the breaker box and remove the cover. In a best case scenario, you will have the breakers clearly labeled so that you know which ones correspond to which areas of your home. However, an almost foolproof giveaway that something is amiss is if you see a single breaker turned to the off position or halfway between on and off … it will likely be the only one in its row not flipped to a certain side (the on/off labels can be hard to see, especially if your breaker box is in a dark place like some garages). If it is flipped, you will want to flip it all the way off and then all of the way on. If this was the culprit, your question of “why is my outside AC unit not turning on” will likely be solved.

Alternatively, if you have an older home and a fuse box, you may consider replacing blown fuses if you are comfortable working with the electrical panel.

One thing to also consider — whether you have a fuse box or a breaker box — is if you have recently had your outside AC unit replaced with a bigger or more powerful unit. If you have, make sure to check that the amp draw from the new unit is not too big for your breaker or fuse size. When it is cooler out the amp load may be fine, but as the AC unit has to work harder it could potentially overload your fuse or breaker. This can usually be corrected fairly quickly and for relatively low cost by a qualified professional.


There are multiple issues with the thermostat that could lead to an AC unit not running. One common, incredibly simple issue we have run into before is people do not realize the thermostat is set in the off position or they have it set to heat instead of cool by mistake. And, although this may sound silly, many thermostats are battery operated — so if those batteries are dead or dying it may not allow your system to function properly. Once you have verified that all of the temperature settings on your thermostat are set to cool, you will likely want a professional to help you with any other troubleshooting involving the thermostat as it will involve checking the wiring.


If the condensate drain for your AC unit becomes clogged, the AC unit will stop working as water builds as a safety feature for the system (electricity and water are not a good combination). As detailed in another recent blog post, one tip off that you may have a clogged condensate drain is if water is collecting in the pan below it.

If you are able to easily locate and remove the clog, go ahead. However, if you have signs of a clog that is not easily resolved yourself, you will want to consult a professional to properly address the issue — special tools may be required. Alleviating these clogs thoroughly and quickly is imperative to avoiding serious damage to your AC unit and even potentially structural damage to your home.

If you are stuck in room temperature with an AC not turning on even after checking all of the items listed above, it may be time to call a professional. But do not just call any professional. We are certified by the Better Business Bureau, have excellent reviews, decades of experience and all of our work is guaranteed. Let us get to the bottom of the problem of an AC not turning on so that you can get back to all of your life’s other responsibilities. Same day appointments are available!