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Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing Blog

What to Do When Your AC Won’t Shut Off (2 Fixes)

Your thermostat controls your air conditioner by telling it to turn on or turn off. So what happens when your air conditioner doesn’t turn off, even when your thermostat says the temperature you set earlier has been met?

Well, first thing’s first: you’re going to need AC repair services. There’s no doubt about that. But in the meantime, while you wait for them to show up, you should power down your AC to prevent further damage and not rack up your power bill.

You Can Disconnect the Central AC Power From a Switch

Your air conditioner has a switch, and it’s actually outdoors. It should be attached to your house and within a few feet of the AC cabinet.

It will have a flip-up weatherproof cover to protect it from the rain. Pull it open, flip the cap up, and turn off the switch. When you flick it, you should hear the fans in the air conditioner power down.

Just to be doubly sure, go inside and put your hand over the vent. Make sure there’s no air coming through, then call an HVAC technician.

If That Doesn’t Work, Kill the Power From Your Circuit Breaker

So what if that outdoor switch doesn’t work? While there’s a very small chance of that happening, the switch itself might be busted. If that’s the case, you have one more option.

Inside your house, you should have a metal box that’s flush with the wall. This might be in a laundry room, basement, or wherever your electrician decided to stick it during construction.

Find it and open the latch. The door will swing open, and you’ll see a bunch of horizontal switches. They should have labels next to them (sometimes they’re blank, which would be unfortunate).

Some switches will have metal brackets connecting them and won’t come apart. That’s okay and normal. Find the one that’s labeled for your air conditioner, and flick it off. Just like before, put your hand up to the vents to check that the airflow stopped.

Don’t Ever Disconnect Wires to Power Down Your AC

Your air conditioner runs on 240 volts of electricity. That’s roughly 6x more than enough voltage to be lethal. Never tamper with the wiring in your air conditioner to power it down.

When you hire an HVAC technician to fix your AC, even if it won’t power down, they know what to do. They’re trained and certified to fix the wiring in your air conditioner and understand all the necessary safety protocols to keep themselves safe. Plus, they’re insured if anything happens.

Last but not least, tampering with the wiring in your air conditioner could ruin the warranty. Many AC manufacturer warranties state that only certified technicians may perform work on the equipment, otherwise, it voids the warranty.

Don’t Turn it Back On Until It’s Repaired

You shut down the power to your AC and stopped it from running–the next step is not to turn it back on by the breaker when the house gets hot. It’s supposed to run on the signals your thermostat provides, which is why you need to call for repairs as quickly as possible.

Contact Potter Heating Cooling & Plumbing today to schedule your AC repair as soon as possible.

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