Why Your Ac Stopped Working Over The Winter

Reasons Your AC Stopped Working Over Winter

Most air conditioners start without issue after the winter. But some don’t, causing a bit of a headache for homeowners. If your AC system was one that stopped working over winter, we go over a few reasons why it may have happened and how you can prepare it for the spring.

Tripped Breaker, Blown Fuse, or Emergency Shutoff

A tripped breaker or blown fuse aren’t usual reasons an air conditioner stops working over winter. But they happen and are a good place to start troubleshooting. Inside the fuse box, find the fuse corresponding to the AC system. Replace the fuse and try turning on the air conditioner. If it doesn’t turn on, move to the circuit breaker box.

Inside the breaker box, find the AC breaker and see if it’s in the off position. If so, flip the breaker on and wait a few seconds. If it stays on, great; if not, don’t try to flip it again and call an HVAC technician as soon as possible.

Conversely, the emergency shutoff switch is usually installed outside near the condenser. A simple switch, it can be easily moved on or off. Therefore, a passing bump or nudge is enough force to flip it off by accident.


Weather Damage (from wind and rain)

Whether it’s tree branches or limbs crashing down on the condenser unit, or blown dirt and mud jamming up the fan blades, winter weather damage may be a culprit. Make sure to check the outside unit after any storm and look inside the caging for sticks and twigs that can impede internal parts.

Blower and Fan Failure

Most air conditioners share the blower motor and fan with the furnace or heat pump. These parts frequently have a large workload through the winter which can cause wear and tear, and eventual breakdown. When running, both are generally quiet unless there’s an issue. Then you may hear screeching, squealing, grinding, and other noises.

Clogged Drain Line

The condensate drain line carries moisture, namely condensation, away from moisture sensitive parts and out of the air conditioner. But, the drain line is the perfect environment for mold, mildew, and gunk to form and create a clog. As moisture backs up in the clogged line, sensors in the air conditioner shut the system down to prevent further issue.

Ac Clogged Drain Line

Capacitor Failure

Every air conditioner has two capacitors powering the condenser motor. The start capacitor provides enough power for the condenser to begin running while the run capacitor supplies power during the cooling cycle. One or both capacitors may fail if the AC system cycles on and off more than usual as the extra wear and tear causes a breakdown.

The start and run capacitors in the condenser motor provide power to the motor during two parts of the cooling cycle. If the air conditioner frequently cycles on and off, the capacitors wear prematurely and eventually fail. They’re also affected by high temperatures and can fail after overheating.

Prepare AC for Spring

After sitting idle for several months, it’s important to prepare the air conditioner for another season of use instead of simply turning it on.

Clean debris around the condenser

As mentioned, yard debris is a problem for the outdoor condenser unit. Use a broom or brush to wipe down the four sides and remove any visible debris from the top opening, where the fan blades are located. The condenser needs at least two feet of space clear around all sides at all times. This is for the unit’s temperature regulation which is affected by its ventilation.

Change the air filter

The air filter should be changed on a regular basis, such as every two to three months. The filters come in a range of sizes, so before buying a new one, verify the size by looking at the dimensions on the side. Air filters are available for purchase at department and hardware stores.

Test the thermostat

Now is a great time to rule out any thermostat issues by testing it. Turn the thermostat from heat mode to cool and listen for the system to begin running. Let it run for a few minutes then check the air vents for cool air. If you feel cool air, the thermostat and air conditioner are ready for spring and beyond!

Broken Thermostat

Schedule a tune-up

An easy way to prepare your AC system for spring and beyond is by scheduling a tune-up. During this appointment, an HVAC technician inspects all parts for issues, including those that may develop as the system runs. It’s a great way to keep the air conditioner healthy and efficient for multiple seasons.

Tech Working On Ac

If you want your home’s air conditioner to turn on after winter, take the time to prepare it for the cooling season and schedule a tune-up. Contact Sierra Air Inc. today for reliable air conditioner service.

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We are currently experience technical issues with our phone systems and will be down for a short time. We are currently working on fixing the issue and hope to be back up momentarily. Please consider using our live chat at the bottom right of the screen to reach us for now. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.