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First Choice Heating & Cooling Blog

How to Turn Off Your Air Conditioner (Without the Thermostat)

Your thermostat reads the temperature of the room, then sends an on or off signal to the air conditioner. The AC itself isn’t detecting the temperature in your home, so it has to rely on the thermostat. But what happens when it becomes unreliable?

Incorrect signals are being sent to the AC, or the last signal your thermostat sent was an “on” request, and it never followed up with an “off” request. You need to know how to turn off your air conditioner, so here are a few ways that don’t involve the thermostat.

Turn Off Your AC Outside at the Switch

For central air conditioners, you’ll have a switch outside that’s protected by a flip-up cap. This is usually attached to the outside of your home, and it’s somewhere near the air conditioner cabinet. It’s unlikely that you’ll find it too far away from there.

Flip the switch. When you do, the fans of your air conditioner should stop, and whatever noise it produces should wind down. However, it’s still good to check if there’s airflow coming out of your vents inside the house. This could indicate that there’s still power going to the blower motor.

If this worked, that’s great. Now you can wait for your HVAC technician to arrive and take it from here.

Power it Down at the Breaker

Your circuit breaker is a metal box located in your home, embedded into the wall. Inside, there are switches that control the electrical flow to different zones in your home. We say zones because it’s not as simple as one switch controlling one outlet.

You should see labels next to the switches. Look for “AC” or “Air Conditioner” somewhere in the box. It’s not uncommon for circuit breaker labels to be a mess or have chicken scratch handwriting, so do the best you can.

When you find the one for your AC, flip the switch to power it down. This may appear as two switches bridged by a metal bracket; that’s perfectly okay. When you power it down, check to see if your AC is off. If it’s not, the box may have been mislabeled.

Don’t Interfere With Any Wiring

It’s important to note that you shouldn’t touch any wiring, exposed or otherwise, to turn off your air conditioner. You may find some tutorials on YouTube, but not all of them are safe to perform. There is a serious risk of electrocution and potential death. The switch and breaker options are safe, but outside of those, don’t try to tamper with any other parts.

It’s Time for a Technician

Now that you’ve successfully powered down your air conditioner, it’s time to call for assistance. While you’ve turned off the power for now, the next step isn’t to flip breaker switches every time you want it to get cold in the house.

Call a technician as soon as possible so you can restore your AC’s normal functionality, and start enjoying the comfort of your home again. This was a terrible disruption, but we’ll get everything fixed as quickly as we can.

Contact us today to schedule your AC repair as soon as possible. If your home had a voice… it would call First Choice!

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