Here’s how to reset your air conditioning unit (3 steps)
We've had our fair share of experiences with “resetting” air conditioning units. But first, let me just go right into the common misunderstanding here - there is no “reset” button on an AC unit. “Resetting” and air conditioner normally refers to power cycling it.
If your AC unit is acting up and not working properly, a quick reset might just do the trick. I've lost count of how many times I've seen people panic about their AC unit not working and assume the worst when really all it needed was a simple reset. Sometimes, electronic devices just need a reboot to get back to functioning normally.
For every time that works, we’ve seen even more where resetting the AC unit doesn’t fix anything. If the issue is more serious, obviously a reset won’t fix it at all. If your unit is still malfunctioning after a reset, you may need to call in the professionals (like me!) to take a closer look.
Here’s how to reset an air conditioning unit
The easiest way to reset an air conditioning unit is to cycle the power; you can do that on a furnace at the furnace power switch if you have one.
If you don’t have a furnace power switch, you can cut the power at your breaker panel.
- Locate the furnace breaker
- Turn it off for about five minutes
- Turn it back on
Same thing with the air conditioner; there is no “switch” that you can use to turn that on and off. You’ll want to do that at the breaker panel again - leave it off for five minutes and turn it back on.
For an air handler, yours might have one or two breakers on the front of the unit that you can turn off and on. If not, you’ll need to go to the breaker and do the same 5 minute thing.
If your air conditioning system isn’t working, this is one of the first things you can do to troubleshoot it. Don’t forget to check your air filters and for any safeties.
Do AC systems have a reset button?
No, there's not going to be a reset button. There are no reset buttons for any of the manufacturers.
If you have an oil burner, there is a big red button on the front of the unit that you can use to reset it. We don't recommend doing that more than once, though. If you have to reset it more than once, it's time to call a professional because resetting it multiple times can cause some serious issues and can actually be dangerous.
Can I reset my thermostat if it's blank?
If the thermostat’s blank, the first thing to check would be to make sure it has power (or batteries). A lot of the older-style thermostats use batteries while the more modern ones are powered directly from the system.
If your isn’t battery powered and it’s blank, you can try cycling the power at the breaker panel using the method we talked about above. Other than that, there isn’t a lot you can do other than calling a professional or replacing your thermostat.
Should I reset the AC if it shut off?
Sometimes, your unit might blow a fuse or pop a breaker and you can reset that breaker or replace the fuse.
Though, if it did trip a breaker or blew a fuse, then there's a problem so it should be investigated further by a professional. Breakers and fuses are designed to trip if there’s a problem and protect you and your home - so definitely take that seriously.
Modern systems do have some safeties on them - like drain line safeties. If your system’s drain line backs up, your drain line safety will shut the system off to prevent flooding and other issues. You can check these safeties and clear any issues if you find them.
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