Do You Need to Reset the Breaker for Your AC to Work?


Sinclaire Enterprises, Inc.

140 South St., Walpole, MA 02081
P 508.668.8200 Toll Free 877.668.8822
Master Plumber License #9530,
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Just like all technology we have come to rely on in our homes, air conditioners have their moments where they fail on us. Quite often, homeowners can fix a problem themselves (provided they know where to look) or can prevent problems from arising by scheduling regular checkups and maintenance and performing regular cleaning of ducts. Frequently replacing air filters is another must when it comes to our AC system.

But what about those times when air conditioners fail on us, and we have done everything responsibly possible on our end? Well, that may come down to the breaker and a need to reset it. This article is going to explore the question of whether or not you need to reset the breaker on your home’s AC. Rest assured, though, when it comes to air conditioning repairs, Sinclaire will be there for you.

What’s a “breaker”?

As with most electrical appliances, an AC unit has a circuit breaker. In fact, there are two of them. One operates on the outside, and the other runs on the inside.

A circuit breaker is a safety switch that protects the AC unit by immediately shutting it down when an overload or power surge is detected. This prevents fires and explosions from occurring.

Once the power comes back on after an outage, a sudden jump in electrical voltage may cause an overload of the unit’s various circuits. A circuit breaker kicks in to prevent this from occurring.

Why Would I Need to Reset My Air Conditioner?

As mentioned, one of the more common reasons for an AC unit needing a reset is due to the protection circuit breaker inside the unit kicking in. This usually happens after a power outage occurs, and this failsafe is in place to prevent fires and explosions from occurring from a power surge.

A reset like this can also fix an AC system that’s only emitting warm air (or only cold air), even when the setting is set to “cool” (or vice versa).

There are a few reasons why an AC system could be blowing warm air, but one of the most common is due to a general thermostat error. Sometimes this “hard reset” of your AC can solve that problem.

While a “hard reset” of an air conditioner is an easy thing to do and not particularly unsafe, if you feel a certain amount of anxiety about performing it, Sinclaire professionals are available for AC repair in Milton, Norfolk, and Dover area. Contact us for an HVAC professional to assist you and get an appointment to take a look at your home’s system.

What Happens To Your Air Conditioner When You Reset The Breaker?

As mentioned, one of the common times when an AC needs resetting is when it is running, but the air coming out isn’t cool.

Restarting the AC system is similar to restarting a computer when there’s a problem. Or when you have to restart it after installing an update. Sometimes the electrical components of your HVAC simply need a fresh start!

When resetting the breaker, you cut the power to the condenser unit and thermostat and then return the power back to them. This essentially reboots them.

In the majority of cases, your AC system will return to functioning normally after this breaker reset. It’s important to know that this isn’t an instant fix and may take up to an hour to get back up and running as normal again.

1. Turn off the air conditioning system at the thermostat, and this prevents the system from turning itself on automatically during this process.

2. Look for your home’s breaker box. This is normally a metal panel or box sitting on a wall somewhere in your home. Quite often, they are located in:

  • Garage
  • Basement
  • Closets
  • Laundry
  • Crawl spaces
  • An exterior section of your home

3. Shut off the AC unit from the breaker. Search for the breaker switch that runs to your HVAC system. Switch it to “off.”

4. Wait at least one minute before switching the breaker back to the “on” position.

5. Wait for 30 minutes before turning your unit back from the thermostat. This gives your system plenty of time to reset its own internal circuit breaker.

6. Carefully set your thermostat back to a “cool” setting, or whatever the equivalent is on your home’s AC system. Choose a setting that is around 5 degrees below the internal temperature your home is currently at to see if this process worked effectively or not.

Your AC unit may in fact have its own reset feature already. This feature will likely perform this entire process for you when selected. If your system has this button, it will be located on your outdoor unit. It should be easy to spot, as it will likely be a large, red button.

If, as the homeowner, you don’t feel confident in performing this task of resetting the breaker on your home’s AC system, contact Sinclaire. For AC repair, there’s no one better. Summers get warm up here, and there are days when it’s essential to get it fixed right away if this happens.

Contact Sinclaire whenever you need air conditioning repair or maintenance