Three Reasons Your Air Conditioner Starts Then Immediately Shuts Off


When your air conditioner starts turning itself off immediately after it switches on, it's time to do some diagnostics before using it again. A problem like this can sometimes signify a problem that may be exacerbated with continued use. Here are three reasons your air conditioner may be partly malfunctioning.

Bad Capacitor or Fuses

Electrical components are crucial to your HVAC system, so if one of them starts to go bad, it could cause your entire system to malfunction. For this particular problem, two things to look at are your capacitor and your fuses. Some symptoms might include the condenser making a buzzing sound but nothing is moving, or your fan moving without the compressor running. This may mean you get no air at all, or air that isn't cold, because one of the parts necessary for running all these systems isn't working or giving enough power to your system to start running correctly or regularly.

Fuses are easier to replace than the capacitor, and are relatively inexpensive, so if you haven't replaced your fuses in a while, check them out to see if they look damaged or worn and need replacing. Next, have your capacitor examined and potentially replaced. This involves taking apart part of the condenser, so if you aren't comfortable doing this yourself, ask a professional for help. If you do try any of these things on your own, remember basic safety and cut power to all HVAC circuits before starting your work.

Broken or Worn Breaker

Another possibility involving electrical components is the breaker for the circuit your condenser is on. It's possible that everything with your condenser itself is fine, and that the problem resides in the breaker itself.

Go to your circuit panel and investigate the breaker for your condenser's circuit. Old or worn breakers may start to malfunction, provide only intermittent power to your condenser, or cease working completely. In many cases the wear and tear or damage will be obvious. If this is the case, have the breaker replaced, then run your air conditioner again. This is another situation where you should call a professional if you aren't completely comfortable doing this work yourself.

Backed Up Condensate Drain or Faulty Switch

One final common problem involves your air conditioner's condensate shut-off safety switch, sometimes called a float switch. In short, whenever your air conditioner runs, it pulls moisture out of the air as it cools it. This moisture condenses, and then needs to be drained somewhere outside your home. It typically drains through the condensate drain, which carries it safely outside of your house. A safety feature on most air conditioning units causes the air conditioner to shut off if water backs up, and this is designed to prevent flooding.

With this in mind, there are two possibilities here:

  • The condensate drain is clogged and not allowing water to drain, causing the safety switch to trigger often.
  • The safety switch itself is malfunctioning, and should be replaced.

The easiest way to start troubleshooting this is by checking the drain pipe to see if any water is backed up. You can also test it by pouring down a little water yourself and seeing if it drains properly. If not, it should be cleaned immediately. It can be a little harder to test the switch, but these are also inexpensive and generally easy to replace.

Contact a contractor if you have more questions about air conditioning repair.


24 September 2018

Inspecting Your Air Ducts

Last summer, I began to get extremely hot in my home. My air conditioning system couldn’t adequately keep my home cool anymore. Therefore, I contacted an experienced HVAC contractor. This individual visited my home and thoroughly inspected my unit. If your air conditioner isn’t working like it once did, your air ducts may be clogged up. Thankfully, an expert HVAC contractor can determine if faulty air ducts are the cause of the hot temperatures inside your home. On this blog, you will discover how an HVAC contractor can properly inspect your air ducts. Stay cool and comfortable during the hot summer months!