Troubleshooting An Air Conditioner After a Power Outage

As summer heats up, we all turn on our air conditioners.  Having a comfortable home is important, and nobody likes it when the air conditioner is not working on a hot day.  Especially if it stops working on a Friday before a holiday weekend!  We have had a lot of storms in Kansas City the past few weeks, so we are getting more calls than normal that air conditioners aren’t working after a power outage.

Did you know that there are usually circuit breakers within your HVAC unit in addition to the circuit breakers in your wall panel?  If there is a power outage or a low power situation (brownout) it is possible that the circuit breaker inside your HVAC will be thrown.  If this happens, your air conditioner might be on and running but not blowing cool air.  There is a simple solution to this problem that won’t require a visit from an HVAC specialist!

To troubleshoot this problem, follow these simple steps (be sure to follow the order exactly, it matters)

  1. Turn your thermostat to the OFF position.  This will make sure that the thermostat is not asking the HVAC unit for cold air as it senses high temperatures.
  2. Flip the switch on your circuit breaker for the HVAC unit to OFF.
  3. Flip the switch on your circuit breaker for the HVAC unti to ON.
  4. Wait 30 minutes (allow the HVAC time to sense that power is being supplied, but no demands are being made for cool air.  The internal breaker should reset if that was the problem)
  5. Turn your thermostat back to the COOL position.  The HVAC system will kick on and start blowing air.  If the problem was an internal circuit breaker, it should be fixed and blowing cool air again!

This happens often enough that we train our staff, especially the property managers, to know what to do when this kind of problem is reported.  The best thing about this solution is that it is a fairly quick fix and doesn’t require you wait for an HVAC specialist to come to your home!

If you can think of any other commons problems that you would like us to explain how we handle them, be sure to comment or email us at

  1. #1 by travislupton on June 3, 2011 - 10:45 am

    And those HVAC visits can be epensive! We had our furnace decide not to work on the same day we had a foot of snow… they made it out at midnight, but it cost us.

  2. #2 by digimomi on July 2, 2012 - 7:02 pm

    worked! thank you!

  3. #3 by Christina on July 7, 2012 - 11:26 pm

    Works! thank you so much!

  4. #4 by Curt on August 4, 2012 - 10:41 pm

    Wow! You just saved my family and I from a miserable night in Portland! Long live the internet and the information it provides. Thanks my friend!!

    • #5 by Julie on July 15, 2013 - 4:13 am

      Thank you so much!!! my husband woke me this a.,m. to tell me the air conditioner was fried, after losing power; and it was going to be a costly fix. Of course I didn’t believe him even though he is an electrician. So after leaving for work I found your article and did what you had said. My air conditioner turned back on!!! Now, I don’t have to go to work thinking i will
      have to spend thousands of dollars for a new one.

      • #6 by Norman on July 19, 2013 - 5:40 am

        just worked for me too. Had a major thunder storm with a power outage. When the power came back on, no ac. Fixed now. Just paid $300 2 days ago for a capacitor.

  5. #7 by Ronda on October 11, 2012 - 1:00 am

    It works thank you so much.

  6. #8 by on July 28, 2013 - 3:18 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! We had a blip in the power and I noticed about 30 minutes later the house was getting hot. I went to check the outside unit and felt it was not blowing warm air out (just felt like a regular fan). Followed the steps you suggested, and tada – cool air in the house, and the outside unit was blowing warm air. Thank you again!

  1. AC not cooling after power outtage? Try this first! | DigiMomi

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