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Tempstar Central Air Conditioner Won’t Turn on

The part(s) or condition(s) listed below for the symptom Central air conditioner won’t turn on are ordered from most likely to least likely to occur. Check or test each item, starting with the items at the top of the page.

Most Frequent Causes for Central air conditioner won’t turn on

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Cause 1Transformer

The furnace control board sends a low voltage signal of 24 volts to the thermostat. When the themostat cooling contacts close, a 24 volt signal is sent to the contactor coil, closing the high voltage circuit and sending power to the condensing unit components. Some furnaces have a separate transformer for the 24 volt circuit, so if the contactor is not receiving the proper voltage when the thermostat cooling contacts are closed, it's likely this transformer has failed and the component will need to be replaced.

Parts
Cause 2Control Board

If the central air condensing unit contactor is not receiving 24 volts or power is not getting to the furnace blower motor, a possible cause is a defective furnace control board. While this is not a common problem, if all other potentially faulty components are working properly, the control board should be replaced.

Parts
Cause 3Wall Thermostat Batteries

Most wall thermostats are either powered by an enclosed battery or by the furnace or air handler transformer. If the thermostat display is dead, you can remove the thermostat cover and look for replaceable batteries. Replace the batteries if needed and check operation.

Cause 4Incoming Power Problem

Check to see if there is power to the furnace or air handler. One or more indicator lights on the control board should be illuminated. If there is no power to the furnace or air handler, check to see if a circuit breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown. Confirm the power switch on the side of the unit is turned on.

Cause 5Wall Thermostat

The furnace control board sends a low voltage signal of 24 volts to the contactor through the wall thermostat. When the contactor receives the signal from the wall thermostat, it closes the circuit, sending voltage to the condensing unit components. There should be 24 volts between the common (“C”) and yellow (“Y”) thermostat wire terminals on the furnace control board when the wall thermostat is in the cooling mode. You can check for this voltage with a multimeter. If voltage is not reaching the contactor, it's likely the wall thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.

Parts
Cause 6Wifi Thermostat

The furnace control board sends a low voltage signal of 24 volts to the contactor through the WiFi thermostat. When the contactor receives the signal from the WiFi thermostat, it closes the circuit, sending voltage to the condensing unit components. There should be 24 volts between the common (“C”) and yellow (“Y”) thermostat wire terminals on the furnace control board when the WiFi thermostat is in the cooling mode. You can check for this voltage with a multimeter. If voltage is not reaching the contactor, it's likely the WiFi thermostat is defective and will need to be replaced.

Parts
Cause 7Check Fault Codes

If the furnace or air handler stops working properly, the control board will often display a fault code to help diagnose the problem. The fault codes are displayed by a steady or flashing light on the control board. The lights indicate either an error code or the status of the furnace or air handler. Some manufacturers will use red and green lights to indicate specific fault codes. Fault code descriptions are often displayed on the access cover of the unit for easy reference.