How to Reset a Thermostat for HVAC
It’s often used as a metaphor, but your thermostat might literally just need you to hit the reset button. If it does, give it a three-second push and release it. Repeat that process and listen for your air conditioning unit to respond with a few beeps. If you hear that, you’re ready to cool off again. It could also be possible that your thermostat runs on batteries, and although it stopped working during a power surge, the power outage might have nothing to do with its inability to do its job. Try changing the batteries and see if that does the trick.
If your thermostat doesn’t have a reset button and doesn’t run on batteries, you’ll have to take a few more steps to get it running again. If you’re not sure how to reset a thermostat, the following will help you get started.
Shut Down Your AC
The first thing you should do when resetting your thermostat is shut it down. Look for the switch or button that says “off” and give it a push. This will help to ensure your safety and promote energy efficiency as you move on to the next step.
Switch the Circuit Breaker Off
In many situations, the circuit breaker to the air conditioning unit has “tripped” due to a power surge during a summer storm. A circuit breaker box is typically found in a room that is set away from the main living areas. It might be in a closet, laundry room, garage, or basement. In some homes, they are located outside the house. In any case, find the breaker box and look for a switch that has tripped. Your breakers may be labeled, so look for one labeled “air conditioner” or something similar to that.
If your breakers do not have accurate labels, look for one that is switched the wrong direction or is in a neutral position. More than likely, that is your breaker. Turn it to “off,” wait a minute, then turn it to “on” again and leave it. Note that if you turn it off and notice any lights going out or appliances turning off, you have probably switched the wrong breaker. It could take a few switches before you get the right one.
Take a 30 Minute Break
While it might seem time-consuming or tedious, it’s important not to do anything with the thermostat, circuit breaker, or AC unit for 30 minutes after switching the breaker back on. The circuit breaker inside the actual AC unit needs a reset as well, and that’s what it’ll do during the 30-minute break. You get to sit back, watch some TV, make lemonade, or do something else relaxing until the next step.
Turn the Thermostat Back On
After 30 minutes, check to see what your thermostat is set to. You want it about five degrees less than the current temperature of the room so it will start working when it is turned on again. Once it is ready to go, switch it to “on” or “cool.” With it set to the correct temperature, the thermostat will call the AC unit to start cooling your room.
Troubleshooting Your Work
Once you’re enjoying the cool air again, it would be awful to have it shut back down again right away. There are a few reasons the circuit breaker to your AC might trip again shortly after you learn how to reset an air conditioner and get it fixed. They include:
- An internal problem with the AC unit that requires the service of a qualified AC technician
- A dirty air filter that needs to be cleaned or replaced
- A defective thermostat that needs a repair or replacement
- A current brownout that is prohibiting regular power supply
- Another power surge you didn’t realize was happening
Why Resetting Your AC Correctly Is So Important
There are those who might think knowing how to reset the air conditioner after a power outage is a waste of time. They’ll just switch the thermostat back on or switch the breaker back to the “on” position and get on with cooling off their home. The problem with that thinking is there are certain steps to take for a specific reason, and when not followed correctly, there are unfortunate consequences.
For example, when you turn the circuit breaker to “off,” it needs a minute to rid itself of the power surge. When you turn it back to the “on” position, the internal circuit breaker is resetting. Without giving it the proper amount of time to reset inside, it could cause damage to the unit as a whole because it will start working before it is ready.
Another example is switching the thermostat to “off” while you complete the process of resetting it. If it is left in the “on” position or on “cool,” the thermostat will constantly communicate with the AC, telling it to run in order to bring the temperature back down. This won’t help at all while the internal circuit breaker is trying to reset. It will almost be like an internal fight between resting and working. It could cause the internal breaker some damage, resulting in more major repairs.
As you can see, each step is important and each plays a role in ensuring your thermostat is reset in the safest and most efficient way. It’s also important you keep your AC unit maintained at all times so you can avoid more serious problems. Regular maintenance includes replacing your filters, checking for damage or leaks, keeping the area around the unit free of dirt and debris, and having it serviced by a professional once a year.
Calling In the Professionals
You won’t always need to call in the professionals. In many cases of a power outage due to a power surge, following the previously mentioned steps will do the trick and your home will start to feel cool again in no time. There are some instances, however, in which you will need to contact the professionals for some more extensive service. The following are just a few.
The AC breaker keeps tripping
Even after you’ve done a thorough reset, it’s possible the circuit breaker will trip over and over again. Without the experience to know why you’ll need a technician to troubleshoot the issue.
The AC is not Blowing Cold Air
Sometimes you’ll get the job done, but the air conditioner will be slow to cool the home down. This could indicate a more serious problem within the unit or the thermostat itself.
The AC is Making Strange Noises
Your air conditioner shouldn’t be making strange sounds at any time. If you hear something that doesn’t sound right, it could be a problem with the compressor or another part of the AC unit.
The AC Unit is Making a Bad Smell
It’s sometimes a smelly buildup in the filter, but there are other issues that could cause your unit to smell and the breaker to trip. Once it’s back on, it could emit an odor that needs to be checked out by a professional.
The AC Thermostat Doesn’t Display the Correct Temperature
Following your thermostat reset, the temperature should begin to drop as the air cools your home. If you feel the temperature displayed is inaccurate, a technician will be able to dissect the problem.
The AC Unit has Water or Ice on or Around It
An AC system should not have water or ice around it. If it has shut down because of a problem that caused it to leak water, it’s important for your safety to stay away until a professional can have a look at it.
You Can’t Get Your AC to Work at all
If you’ve tried and tried to get the thermostat and air conditioner to start working and it’s just not turning back on after following our recommendations, we can send a technician to your home to give it an inspection.
Getting Started Right Away
You don’t have to suffer the Arizona heat if your air conditioning unit has stopped working. Especially if it’s simply a tripped breaker, the fix is often quick and you can do it on your own at home. Remember to turn your thermostat off before you complete the reset so the process goes smoothly and safely. After it is off and you locate the circuit breaker box, remember to follow specific instructions on the amount of time you spend in-between steps so you don’t cause additional damage. After you have done everything correctly, you can enjoy the cool air once again.
For more information on how to reset a thermostat, or to learn more about your AC unit and what you can do to maintain your HVAC unit on a regular basis, contact Day & Night Air. Our technicians are looking forward to ensuring you don’t have to sit in the heat of the summer in Phoenix when there are so many solutions for staying cool.