Ac Not Turning On? A Homeowner’s Checklist

Ac Not Turning On A Homeowner's Checklist


Have you been waiting for the cool air to come but your air conditioner is not turning on? Your first reaction may be to call us or another Corpus Christi AC company to come get your broken air conditioner fixed right away. While you can definitely call us to get a technician out for a quick repair, you may want to take a moment to check a few things out for yourself.


Photo of air conditioner unit in Corpus Christi

Not necessarily. There are several possible problems that could cause an air conditioner to not turn on. And while a trained HVAC technician should be able to handle whatever the problem may be, some AC issues are easy to spot and handle on your own!

While a lot of causes to a broken AC do require one of our skilled technicians to identify and fully fix, sometimes our technicians are called out for problems that end up being simple and easy enough for the homeowners to handle on their own.

While we are happy to come out and address whatever cooling problem you are having, we want you to be armed with the information about some of the simpler problems that don’t always require professional repair. If it’s something you can fix, handling a simple air conditioning repair on your own will save you time and money.

When you find your air conditioner won’t turn on, refer to this checklist of potential problems that you might be able to repair. Some of these items are simple and can be done by yourself in a matter of minutes.


STEP 1: Is Your Air Filter Dirty?

Check it. Even if you are sure that it’s not time to change your filter again yet, go pull it out and give it a look. A filter can become dirty faster than you realize. A dirty air filter impedes airflow. It could be clogged so much that it’s keeping your AC from turning on.

If you find that your air filter is dirty, you may need to reassess how often you are changing it and start changing it more frequently. Each home and homeowners’ needs are different. Changing the air filter once very few months may not be enough for you and your home, especially if you suffer with allergies or have pets.

STEP 2: Is your Thermostat Set Correctly?

Check to make sure your thermostat is both set to COOL and to be at least 5 degrees below the current ambient temperature.

If the thermostat screen is blank, that may mean you need to replace the batteries. For many thermostats, there is a spot along the edge of your thermostat with the word PRESS. Simply press that area to remove the battery compartment. Some thermostats will require you pull the cover of the thermostat unit off to access the batteries.

STEP 3: Is Your Power On?

Infographic explaining basic steps to resetting a tripped circuit breaker

Sometimes we can be surprised to find the power is off, especially in the middle of the day when we are not reliant upon lighting. If it is off, a breaker may have gotten tripped.

While it may seem daunting to deal with any electrical problem, checking your breaker box and fixing a flipped circuit is something you can try to handle yourself.


  1. Look for the switch that is in the center position.
  2. Flip that switch to off, then to on.
  3. Wait a moment for the power to return. If it doesn’t or if the switch doesn’t stay on, call a professional electrician.

STEP 4: Has the AC Power Been Turned Off?

This is a different power issue than if your entire power is out. You will want to look for a switch on or near the inside HVAC unit and make sure it is turned to the ON position. It looks similar to a light switch and can be mistakenly turned off by someone who is not aware what that switch is. When turned off, the blower would be off and can cause the inside unit to freeze.

STEP 5: Is There Ice on Your Outside AC Unit?

If ice is covering your air conditioner, turn the AC off at the thermostat and turn the FAN setting to on. Give it plenty of time to defrost. Do not try to use any sort of heating device to speed up the thawing or try to scrape the ice off.

If this was your problem and gets your air conditioning back up and running, you should still call an AC repair technician to come out to inspect the unit. A frozen AC could mean you have a refrigerant leak which can be dangerous for you and your family.

Open AC dirty with dirt and leaves and needing to be cleaned

STEP 6: Is Your AC Unit Dirty?

Even if you don’t see ice on your unit, you may find it’s covered in dirt, pollen or other debris or has debris inside the unit. Your air conditioner may be in need of a good cleaning.

To clean your AC unit, you will need to first turn it off at the outside service disconnect panel. Remove the top and any other outer caging and take out the fan. With a garden hose, spray from the inside out all around the inside of the unit. Then spray down the exterior of the unit.


Tommy Cool Air has worked on thousands of air conditioners and other cooling systems across the Corpus Christi area. Our AC repair technicians have years of experience fixing broken cooling systems and have seen all types of AC problems. Schedule a call for our AC repair team to come check why your AC won’t turn on.

‍Call Tommy Cool – available 24/7 in Corpus Christi, TX – at 361-371-7538.

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