Air Conditioning Stops Working: Steps to Take When Your AC Fails in Summer

The sweltering heat of summer is bearable only because of the relief provided by air conditioning. So, when your air conditioning stops working, it’s not just an inconvenience. It feels like a survival issue, especially when the AC stops working when it’s extremely hot outside. As the temperature soars, we are forced to stay inside, but as soon as the cooling system shuts down, staying inside is not an option.

This is especially true for those living in Dallas. In summer, the temperature can exceed 100 degrees. However, before you’re soaked in sweat and dialing for AC repair in Dallas, let’s explore some proactive steps you can take to troubleshoot or even fix the problem yourself.

Understanding the Importance of AC Maintenance

Preventive maintenance is the unsung hero in the longevity and efficiency of your air conditioning system. Regularly scheduled checks can preempt many problems. This can help avoid the situation where your air conditioner stops working when it gets hot.

This entails cleaning or replacing air filters, inspecting refrigerant levels, and verifying the mechanical components’ functionality. Despite its critical importance, maintenance is often overlooked until a problem arises.

Step 1: Inspect and Replace Your Air Filter

One of the most common culprits behind an inefficient AC unit is a dirty or clogged air filter. The air filter’s job is to purify the air entering your home by trapping dust, pollen, and other particles.

Over time, the filter can become clogged, restricting airflow and forcing your AC to work overtime. This not only leads to decreased efficiency but can also cause your system to freeze up or stop working altogether. Checking and replacing your air filter every 30-60 days during high-use seasons can prevent these issues.

Step 2: Check the Thermostat Settings

It might seem obvious, but sometimes your air conditioning stops working when the thermostat is inadvertently set incorrectly, or its programming has been altered. Make sure it’s set to “cool,” and the temperature is set lower than the present room temperature.

If your thermostat operates on batteries, check if they need replacing. A malfunctioning thermostat can fail to communicate properly with your AC unit, leading to it not turning on when required.

Step 3: Ensure Proper Airflow and Ventilation

Your AC system’s efficiency heavily depends on unobstructed airflow. Ensure all vents in your home are open and free from furniture or curtains blocking them.

Similarly, the outdoor unit needs ample space around it to expel heat effectively. Vegetation growth, debris, and dirt around the outdoor unit can impede its function, causing your air conditioning to stop working optimally.

Step 4: Examine the Outdoor Unit and Circuit Breakers

Sometimes, the problem lies outside the condenser unit. Check for any visible signs of damage or excessive debris that might be choking the system.

Additionally, a power surge or overload can trip the circuit breaker connected to your AC, cutting off power. Inspect your home’s electrical panel to ensure the breaker is in the “on” position. If it has tripped, resetting it might solve your problem.

Step 5: Tackling Condensation Drain Issues

AC units pull moisture from the air, which is expelled via the condensation drain. Over time, this drain can become clogged with algae, dirt, or even mold, leading to water backing up into the system. This can trigger safety switches that shut down the AC to prevent water damage. Regularly cleaning the condensation line can prevent these shutdowns.

When to Call for Professional Help

If you’ve gone through the aforementioned steps and your AC still isn’t working, or if you’ve identified a more complex issue like a refrigerant leak, damaged coils, or electrical malfunctions, it’s time to seek professional air conditioning repair services. Attempting to fix complex issues without proper training can lead to greater damage or even personal injury. Professionals have the tools, knowledge, and experience to diagnose and repair your system efficiently.

Preventive Measures: The Key to Avoiding Future AC Failures

Investing in a maintenance plan with a trusted HVAC provider can save you from unexpected breakdowns when your air conditioning stops working. These plans often include bi-annual inspections and tune-ups that keep your system running smoothly. Additionally, upgrading to a smart thermostat can enhance your system’s efficiency by allowing you to program temperature settings based on your schedule, potentially preventing overuse and overheating issues.

Staying Cool While You Wait for Repairs

In the event of a breakdown, there are several ways to keep cool while waiting for professional help. Close blinds or curtains to block out direct sunlight, use ceiling fans to promote air circulation and wear lightweight clothing. Keeping hydrated is also essential, as it helps your body regulate its temperature more effectively.


When air conditioning stops working during the peak of summer, it can test anyone’s patience. However, by following the steps outlined above, you have a solid starting point for troubleshooting common issues that might be affecting your system. Regular maintenance cannot be overstressed, as it is the foundation for a reliable and efficient air conditioning system. Should you find yourself facing a problem beyond a simple fix, don’t hesitate to reach out to professional air conditioning repair services.

By Copeland Home Services April 1, 2024

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