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How To Reset an Air Conditioner After Power Outage

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Power outages can be a common occurrence, especially during stormy weather. When the power comes back on, your air conditioner may not function as it should, leaving you sweltering in the heat. But don’t despair, resetting your AC after a power outage is something you can do yourself. This comprehensive guide will provide you with a step-by-step process on how to reset your air conditioner after a power outage, along with helpful tips, common issues, and preventative measures.


To reset your air conditioner after a power outage, first turn off your AC at the thermostat. Then, switch off the circuit breaker for the air conditioner. Wait for 30 minutes to allow the internal circuitry to reset. After waiting, switch the circuit breaker back to the “on” position, and turn on the thermostat. If your air conditioner still doesn’t work, it may be due to a more serious issue, and you should contact a professional HVAC technician.

Step-by-Step Guide to Resetting Your Air Conditioner

  1. Turn off the thermostat: The first step is to turn off your AC at the thermostat. Locate the “system” switch on your thermostat and set it to the “off” position.
  2. Turn off the circuit breaker: Next, find the circuit breaker box, usually located in a garage, storage room, or basement. Identify the switch for the air conditioner and set it to “off”.
  3. Wait for 30 minutes: This waiting period allows the internal circuitry of your AC to reset.
  4. Turn on the circuit breaker: After waiting, switch the circuit breaker for the air conditioner back to the “on” position.
  5. Turn on the thermostat: Set the “system” switch on your thermostat to the “cool” or “on” position.

If your air conditioner still doesn’t work after following these steps, it’s likely there’s a more serious issue at hand, such as a failed capacitor, malfunctioning compressor, or a tripped breaker. In these cases, contact a professional HVAC technician for assistance.

Safety Precautions

When resetting your air conditioning unit, it’s crucial to take safety precautions to avoid potential hazards. Always turn off the AC and thermostat before starting. Check for any exposed wires or visible damage to your outside unit. If you see any issues, do not attempt to reset the unit. Instead, contact a professional HVAC contractor. Also, avoid overusing the reset button. If your breaker trips more than once, it’s best to seek professional help.

Common Issues & Solutions

Users might face some common issues when attempting to reset their air conditioning unit. These include the AC not turning on, not blowing cold air, freezing up, refrigerant leaks, electrical control failure, sensor problems, and drainage problems. Most of these issues can be resolved by checking the thermostat, replacing or cleaning the air filter, checking the coolant levels, inspecting the blower motor and contractor, and ensuring the condensate drain is not clogged.

Preventive Measures

To prevent power outages from causing damage to your air conditioner, turn off your AC during an outage, use a surge protector, schedule regular maintenance, and consider installing a hard start kit. Also, ensure your AC contactor is in the best possible shape. An upgraded contactor can help protect your air conditioner from power outages.


Power outages can throw a wrench in your home’s comfort, but with these steps, you can easily reset your air conditioner and get it back up and running. Remember, if you’re unsure about any of the steps or if your AC continues to malfunction after a reset, it’s best to call a professional. Regular maintenance and following preventive measures can also help protect your air conditioner from damage during power outages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a surge protector and why is it necessary for my air conditioner?

A surge protector is a device that shields your electrical appliances from voltage spikes caused by power outages, lightning strikes or other power disturbances. It’s necessary for your air conditioner because it can prevent damage to its electrical components, thus extending its lifespan.

What is a hard start kit and how can it help my air conditioner during power outages?

A hard start kit is a device that assists your air conditioner’s compressor at startup, reducing the amount of time it takes to start. During a power outage, power can often surge back irregularly, which can make it harder for your air conditioner to start. The hard start kit can help your AC handle these surges better and reduce the risk of damage.

How often should I schedule maintenance for my air conditioner?

Regular maintenance of your air conditioner is crucial for its optimal performance and longevity. It’s generally recommended to have your AC serviced at least once a year, preferably before the start of the cooling season.

What is an AC contactor and why should I upgrade it?

An AC contactor is a switch that controls the flow of electricity to different parts of your air conditioner. Upgrading your AC contactor can enhance its performance, increase its lifespan, and provide better protection against power outages.

What should I do if my air conditioner’s circuit breaker keeps tripping?

If your air conditioner’s circuit breaker keeps tripping, it could indicate a serious issue such as a short circuit, a ground fault, or an overloaded circuit. In such cases, it’s best to call a professional HVAC technician to diagnose and fix the problem.

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