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The Air Conditioner Breaks in Summer: What to Do


When the outdoor temperature spikes in the summer, your A/C's workload spikes too and the added strain can lead to a sudden breakdown when you need cooling the most. If you experience a broken air conditioner this summer, here's what to do:


It's possible to troubleshoot and fix some A/C issues yourself, such as the following:

  • Unresponsive thermostat.If the thermostat screen suddenly goes blank, it may just need new batteries to regain its functionality.
  • Tripped circuit breaker.If the A/C stops working suddenly, it's worth checking whether it's tripped the breaker in your main electrical panel. To make sure it's on, flip the breaker and reset it, then try starting the A/C again.
  • Frozen cooling coil.If the airflow from your registers turns warm, a clogged air filter may have caused the coil to ice up. Switch off the A/C first, put a container beneath the coil to catch melting ice runoff, then allow the coil to defrost naturally. Once it's free of ice, put in a fresh air filter and restart the system.


If the above fixes don't work, or you're not sure what's caused your A/C to stop working, it's time to call us for expert help. Our HVAC technician may discover that the wiring to your unresponsive thermostat is fried or disconnected or the unit needs replacement. If the A/C trips the breaker a second time, it may be due to dirty coils, electrical component short circuits, a compressor issue or a faulty breaker. Repeated icing of the coil may be caused by an obstructed condensate drain, a bad fan motor or a refrigerant leak.


When you're waiting for a technician to arrive, shut down the A/C at the thermostat and try to stay cool. Close your window shades, run your ceiling fans and avoid using appliances that generate heat, like the kitchen range, dishwasher and clothes dryer.

If you need help fixing a broken air conditioner, visit our website, or just give us a call at (408) 868-5500.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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