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  • Writer's pictureJosh Burrus

What to Do When Your Outside AC Unit Isn't Turning On in Oklahoma

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As a homeowner in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, few things are more frustrating than discovering that your air conditioning unit isn't working, especially during the peak of summer. One common issue that many people encounter is their outside AC unit not turning on. Before you panic there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot and potentially resolve the issue yourself. This guide will walk you through the possible causes and solutions, helping you get your AC back up and running as quickly as possible.

Safety First: Turn Off the Power

Before you start any troubleshooting, make sure to turn off the power to your AC unit. This is crucial for your safety. Locate the disconnect box near the outside unit and flip the switch to off. Additionally, turn off the AC unit at the circuit breaker.

1. Check the Thermostat

The first and simplest step is to check your thermostat. Ensure that it is set to "cool" and that the temperature setting is lower than the current room temperature.

Steps to Check:
  • Make sure the thermostat is switched to "cool."

  • Set the temperature at least 5 degrees lower than the room temperature.

  • Replace the batteries if needed.

  • Ensure the thermostat is clean and free of dust.

2. Inspect the Circuit Breaker

A tripped circuit breaker is a common reason why an outside AC unit might not be turning on. Head to your electrical panel to see if any breakers have flipped.

How to Check:
  • Open your electrical panel.

  • Locate the breaker labeled "AC" or "Air Conditioner."

  • If the breaker is tripped, flip it off and then back on.

3. Examine the Condensate Drain Line

Many AC units have a safety switch that turns off the system if the condensate drain line becomes clogged. This is a feature designed to prevent water damage.

Steps to Inspect:
  • Locate the condensate drain line near your indoor unit.

  • Check for any visible clogs or standing water.

  • Use a wet/dry vacuum to clear out any blockages.

4. Investigate the Outdoor Unit

Sometimes, the issue lies with the outdoor unit itself. Here are a few areas to inspect:

a. Check the Disconnect Box

Ensure that the disconnect switch near the outdoor unit is in the "on" position.

b. Inspect the Fuses

Some units have fuses located in the disconnect box. Use a multimeter to test the fuses and replace them if needed.

c. Look for Debris

Debris around the outdoor unit can obstruct airflow and cause the unit to shut down. Clean any leaves, dirt, or other obstructions from around the unit.

d. Check the Capacitor

The capacitor is a small cylindrical device that helps start the motor. If it's faulty, the unit may not turn on. Look for any signs of swelling or leaking. If you suspect a bad capacitor, it's best to call a professional for replacement.

5. Test the Contactor

The contactor is a switch that controls the flow of electricity to the compressor and fan. A faulty contactor can prevent the unit from starting.

How to Test:
  • Locate the contactor within the outdoor unit.

  • Use a multimeter to test for continuity.

  • If the contactor is faulty, it will need to be replaced.

6. Consider Refrigerant Levels

Low refrigerant levels can cause your AC unit to malfunction. Unfortunately, checking and refilling refrigerant is not a DIY task and requires a licensed professional.

When to Call a Professional at Superior Air Services 

If you've gone through all these steps and your AC unit still won't turn on, it's time to call a professional HVAC technician at Superior Air Services. We have the tools and expertise to diagnose and fix more complex issues.

Indicators to Call for Help:
  • You hear strange noises from the unit.

  • You notice a burning smell.

  • The unit continuously trips the circuit breaker.

  • The troubleshooting steps didn't resolve the issue.

Preventative Maintenance Tips

To avoid future issues, consider performing regular maintenance on your AC unit. Here are some tips:

  • Change Filters Regularly: Dirty filters can restrict airflow.

  • Clean the Outdoor Unit: Remove debris and ensure good airflow.

  • Schedule Annual Inspections: Professional inspections can catch problems early.

Call Superior Air Services

While a non-functioning outside AC unit can be a major inconvenience, understanding how to troubleshoot common issues can save you time and money. However, always prioritize your safety and know when it's time to seek expert help.

Call to schedule your service - 918.357.2248

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