AC Won’t Turn On After Flipping Breaker? How To Reset

Your AC’s primary role is heating and cooling. But if it no longer regulates your home’s temperature, should you bin it? I guess not.

If an AC doesn’t turn on, the cause may be; a poor plumbing system, soiled filter, tripping switch, or poor heating system.

Cooling and heating your home is essential. So, if issues come up, deal with them right away!

If your HVAC unit doesn’t turn on due to a flipping beaker, this article will show you how to overcome the problem.

Why your AC won’t Turn on after Flipping Breaker

1. Dirty Filter

Imagine squeezing a pillow against your face. It’s deadly. Similarly, a dirty air filter disrupts air circulation from the ac blower. Moreover, the disruption strains circulation across the air filter, which trips your circuit breaker.

Fix: Replace your dirty air filter.

2. Dirty Outside Unit

Each AC is two-fold; inside and outside units. First, the internal unit soaks heat from the air using the ac unit refrigerant. Then, later on, the refrigerant drips to the outside unit to disperse heat.

It won’t disperse heat nicely if the outside AC system is dirty since it’s an insulator. So your air conditioning system runs more, causing a tripped breaker.

Fix: It helps to contact HVAC technicians to service and repair the unit.

3. Issues with Circuit Breakers

Loose wires or the circuit breaker may be the problem. Generally, you’ll need to repair or replace damaged circuit breakers.

Fix: for a bigger problem, let an HVAC determine the root cause. Then, the tech will tighten, repair or replace the breaker.

4. A Short in the Motor

Electrical motors within your ac unit suffer when they run for hours. So when the motor runs longer while hot, wire insulation breaks down. For that reason, an electrical short happens.

Through the “short” process, insulation melts and causes fire. But before the fire breaks out, it causes a tripped breaker.

Fix: contact an HVAC pro who’ll look for the origin of the shorts.

5. The Compressor Start Problems

The compressor is the soul of your HVAC. It draws massive electricity when it turns on. Unfortunately, when your compressor ages, it’s difficult to turn on. As a result, it causes the circuit breaker to go off position.

Solution: contact your favorite air conditioner pro to initiate the “hard start kit” to protect the compressor from excess electricity. However, if the compressor has faults, the tech will replace it with a fresh one.

6. Grounded Compressor

A grounded compressor is a compressor with a broken electrical winding. The winding causes a short to ground and later on a burnout. And through that process, the circuit breaker trips.

Solution: an air conditioner tech will replace the air compressor.

Reminder, it’s cheaper to replace the outside ac unit if your warranty has expired.

How to Reset AC Circuit Breaker

Step 1: Shut it Off

First, shut off the air conditioning system before performing a thermostat reset. Next, use the owner’s manual to locate the shut-off button on your ac unit. Then, turn your thermostat to its off position before you shut down the air conditioner. The step secures you when working on the air conditioner.

Step 2: Reach for the circuit breaker

Find the circuit breaker linked to the air conditioner. After finding it, shut the air conditioning unit. A circuit breaker is typically located in closets, basements, or crawl spaces.

Step 3: Wait 30 Seconds

After you switch off the circuit breaker, which links to the air conditioner, set a timer and wait for 30 or more seconds before you switch on the air conditioner. For safety measures, inform everyone in your home about the circuit breaker reset.

Step 4: Restart your air conditioner

After chilling for 30+ seconds, the air conditioner resets by itself. Reach out for the thermostat and restart the air conditioner.

Customize your thermostat temperature setting and let the air conditioner cool. After customization, you’ll confirm if it’s working correctly.

What to do if Tripped Circuit Breaker won’t Reset

  • Reset the circuit breaker the right way – take proper steps when you want to reset the circuit breaker. I know it sounds funny, but flip the right switch. Moreover, push the handle on the circuit breaker towards the on position.
  • Check for a circuit overload – if you notice a circuit breaker that; trips, won’t turn on faster, or resets when cool. The culprit is a circuit that’s overloaded. Such overloads happen in aged kitchens or bathrooms where someone plugs numerous appliances into one course. For troubleshooting, unplug the appliances and restore the ac breaker. After doing so, plug each device at a time to see if the issue persists.
  • Check for shorts – if you can’t restore the circuit breaker and it trips shortly. A short circuit is behind the problem; it happens when hot and neutral wires touch. Short courses cause overheating fire yards or broken appliances. If you believe a short circuit trips the breaker, leave it and call an HVAC pro.
  • Check for a wrecked circuit breaker – although it’s rare, the circuit may be faulty. If it’s the case, contact an HVAC tech.
  • Contact your electrician – a call to your favorite electrician will do if you’re uninterested, inexperienced, or busy.

Other Reasons Why your Air Conditioner isn’t Turning on

1. Thermostat Issues/ Malfunctioning

An ac won’t turn on if its thermostat malfunctions.

First, inspect the display on your thermostat to see if it’s lit. If the thermostat display is off, your ac won’t turn on.

Second, check if you have a thermostat that operates on batteries. If the batteries are in perfect condition, assess if the thermostat is working. Then, simply turn the switch to “cooling settings,” which is 5-6 degrees less than your indoor temperature.

A few minutes after doing so, position your hands closer to the AC vane. Afterward, you can experience compressed air. If the air conditioning unit turns on, the ac repair was successful.

2. Low on Refrigerant

Refrigerant shortage in an air conditioning unit isn’t because it depletes the fluid. Instead, it’s because of leakage. If you don’t deal with cracks in the evaporator coil, they build up over time. Such a build-up on the evaporator coil causes refrigerant leakage in your air conditioning unit. Moreover, failure to spare some time to do ac maintenance causes corrosion over time.

You can’t hack it on your own. Instead, you’ll need to procure the services of an HVAC tech. The technician will examine your AC’s refrigerant levels and the cause of the AC leakage.

3. Clogged Air Filters

Your cooling system won’t operate if it has dirty or clogged-up air filters. No matter the type of air conditioner unit you own, you need to clean up the dirty filter. Otherwise, you’ll invite a faulty fuse box, clogged drain line, thermostat issues, less compressed air, or power malfunctions. Also, dirty air filters can freeze the outdoor system.

4. Dead Capacitor

If an air conditioning unit finds it challenging to start or stops abruptly after boot, it has a dead capacitor. Also, you’ll notice clicking sounds coming from your unit if a capacitor dies.

What causes the AC’s capacitor to die?

  • Overheating
  • Extreme cold/hot days
  • Power outages/fluctuations
  • Old age

5. Blown Fuse

When your home experiences a power surge, your unit’s fuse might blow. So, to find out if the fuses are working correctly, use an electrical multimeter to perform a continuity test.

Remember, test both fuses. If your multimeter beeps, the fuses are OK. But if one of the fuses doesn’t operate well, service it or get another one from a close-by hardware store.

6. Dirty/unplugged Condenser

When you don’t do regular ac maintenance/service, its condenser gets dirty over time. Hence, the conditioner operates harder to dispel heat.

While the unit dispels heat, its dirt takes up the insulation role. As a result, the condenser trips the ac breaker when it draws more power. And as a result, your ac won’t power on.

7. Clogged Drain Pan

The drainpipe clogs without regular service/clean-up, especially in high humidity areas. The pan holds a small drain pan which prevents it from clogging. But if both drain pans are complete, the system triggers its float switch. The safety switch turns the unit off.

So, your unit won’t turn on unless you clear out the drain pan or reverse the safety switch.

8. Damaged Motor

Without oil/lubricant, the ac motor wears out. So you’ll have to perform an ac repair to prevent a total breakdown. The external ac unit can’t dispel heat if its motor has faults.

9. Faulty Power Cord/Outlet

The power cord can fray and wear down if you store your ac unit for a season. Also, power outages damaged power cords. Unplug the ac power cord for a thorough examination. If the chords show traces of damage, you’ll need to replace them with fresh ones.

10. Oversized /undersized ac unit

When an ac unit is huge or oversized, it keeps powering on and off faster. Unfortunately, the quick changes increase your AC’s wear and tear. Further, the ac unit won’t eliminate excess humidity since it doesn’t stay on for enough time.

On the other hand, small ac units run overtime to cool/warm your home. Unfortunately, the extra run causes your unit to overheat.

AC Won’t Turn on After Flipping Breaker FAQs

Where is the AC Reset Button?

Look for the switch on the access panel, closer to the ground edge. The switch is red and noticeable, so you’ll spot it faster. If the switch isn’t on the access panel, check if it’s on the unit’s outer part.

How do you Reset a Tripped AC Breaker?

  • Turn it right “off” point, then left “on” point
  • Wait 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, turn it right “on” point

How Long does it Take for an AC Unit to Reset?

After you power on your ac, your unit will take longer to restore, 30 minutes to be precise.

Why does my AC Trip again and again?

A power surge can trip the air conditioner circuit breaker. As a result, the circuit breaker causes wiring problems within an air-con. Also, a loose wiring or a dead capacitor could cause the problem. A professional can conduct troubleshooting methods to rectify such issues.

What would Cause an AC Unit to not Turn on?

If your HVAC unit doesn’t power on, check;

  • Thermostat batteries
  • Air filter
  • Drain line
  • Thermostat switch
  • Heating pump
  • Evaporator coil
  • Fuse
  • Thermostat temperature setting
  • Circuit breaker tripping
  • Plumbing system

Note: chances are, the breaker will trip if there’s an overload.


Poor plumbing means your HVAC won’t turn on or even cool your home. So, to avoid such crises, service your air-con more often.

In the article, we’ve seen how a simple thermostat setting or a filter can affect your AC’s operations – be keen!

Finally, go all out and try the DIY steps to restore an ac that won’t turn on.