It’s Getting Hot in Here: What to Do When Heat Works but AC Doesn’t

Installing your own thermostat may seem like an easy enough job, but there's a lot of room for error. That's why it's crucial that you call a residential electrical contractor when an issue arises before, during, or after the installation process.

If you find that your heat is working but your air conditioner isn't, it's likely because of one of these common mistakes:

1) The thermostat isn't level

Your thermostat needs to be level in order for it to work properly. If it's not, the sensors inside can get thrown off and cause the AC to malfunction. When the air conditioner malfunctions, it can cause the compressor to overheat and shut down.

You can tell your thermostat is level if the bubble is in the center of the vial. If it's not, use a leveler or ruler to adjust it until it is.

2) You have the wrong wiring

If the wires are not connected correctly, it can cause all sorts of issues with your thermostat, including preventing the AC from working the way it should. There are three different types of wires that are commonly used with thermostats: 24 volt AC, millivolt, and low voltage. If you accidentally connect the wrong type of wire to your thermostat, it won't work properly.

Most thermostats require a C wire (common wire) in order to function properly. If you don't have a C wire, but you do have an extra wire near your thermostat, be careful. It's usually best to leave it alone and consult a residential electrical contractor for help.

3) You have a bad connection

Even if you have the right type of wire, if the connection is loose, it can cause problems. The best way to ensure a good connection is to use wire nuts and twist them clockwise until they're tight. A residential electrical expert can help with connection issues.

4) Your settings are incorrect

If your thermostat is not set to the proper temperature or mode, this can cause problems with both the AC and heating systems. The settings are typically quite straightforward, so if you're struggling to get them right, speak to a professional residential electrician for guidance. Specialists may be able to troubleshoot the issue over the phone, especially if you purchased your thermostat or HVAC system from their company.

5) You don't have enough power

Older homes may not have enough power running to the thermostat to support both heating and cooling. If your thermostat doesn't have enough power, it can prevent the AC from turning on. This can be easily fixed by upgrading your electrical panel, but it's not necessarily a do-it-yourself job. Make sure you consult a wiring diagram or an electrician before making any changes.

If you're having trouble with your AC, don't hesitate to call a residential electrical contractor. They'll be able to diagnose the problem and get your AC up and running in no time.