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How an AC Power Outage Affects Your Air Conditioner

How an AC Power Outage Affects Your Air Conditioner

Posted by
Ed Miller on Tues, May 30, 2023

A power outage can throw your home into disarray. Everywhere you go, you find clocks blinking the wrong time, alarms in need of a reset, and useless chargers. The last thing you need is your air conditioning unit causing power outage adding to the trouble.

When the power goes out, you may find your air conditioner reluctant to resume its duties. While a call to a professional is a good first instinct in that situation, it may not be necessary to put in a call just yet. There are steps you can take to give your HVAC unit the kick it needs to get its fans back in gear after a power outage. A power surge may sometimes damage the HVAC system, so it’s important to use surge protection when possible and avoid power surge damage.

AC Power Outages

Air conditioners work best by keeping the home a consistent temperature without too great a variance. A power outage disrupts that plan. Depending on the length of the outage, your home may heat up a significant amount, especially in the summer season. That increased in temperature may be your first clue that something has gone awry with the HVAC unit. HVAC technician can help you with air conditioning repair after power outage.

An AC power outage can have several effects on your air conditioner, depending on the specific circumstances and the type of AC system you have. Here are some common ways an AC power outage can affect your air conditioner:

  1. Complete Shutdown: During a power outage, your air conditioner will completely shut down. This means that the cooling process stops, and the fan and other components of the system cease to function. Without power, the air conditioner cannot provide any cooling or airflow.
  2. Increase in Indoor Temperature: As the air conditioner is no longer operating, the indoor temperature will gradually rise. How quickly the temperature increases will depend on factors such as the outside temperature, insulation of your home, and the duration of the power outage.
  3. Humidity Buildup: Air conditioners help to remove excess humidity from the air by condensing moisture on the evaporator coil. Without power, the air conditioner cannot dehumidify the air, leading to an increase in indoor humidity levels.
  4. Damage to Compressor: Power outages can cause voltage fluctuations or surges when the power is restored. These fluctuations can potentially damage the compressor, which is a critical component of your air conditioner. It is recommended to turn off the AC unit during a power outage to protect it from potential damage.
  5. Tripped Circuit Breaker: In some cases, when the power is restored after an outage, the sudden surge of electricity can cause the circuit breaker connected to your air conditioner to trip. This is a safety mechanism to protect the electrical system from overload.
  6. Potential for Other Issues: In rare cases, power outages can lead to other issues such as blown fuses, damaged electrical connections, or malfunctioning control boards. These problems may require professional inspection and repair.

What to do with AC After a Power Outage?

Should your air conditioner not start back up once power has been restored after power outage, try the following steps to see if it is a simple issue, or if further help is needed. While all HVAC systems are different, these basic steps should provide you with a general guideline for most units. Additionally, it is important to check if power surge damage your HVAC system.

It is also advised to check your circuit breaker.

  • Check your thermostat for a way to turn off your air conditioner entirely. Both the traditional dial and the more modern electronic panel types of thermostats should offer a way to turn the system off. If you can’t find one, skip to the next step.
  • Close windows and doors to minimize the entry of warm air into your home.
  • Use alternative methods to stay cool, such as fans or opening windows during cooler times of the day if it is safe to do so.
  • A power surge may have tripped the circuit breaker that is associated with your air conditioning system. Check your home’s main breaker box to ensure the switch that controls your system is fully turned on.
  • Leave your air conditioner off for 30 minutes. Half an hour can feel like an eternity in the Jacksonville summer heat, but this time allows your system to reset its circuitry and prepare to cool your home again. It is important to leave it turned off, not just set to a high temperature, to prevent the system from attempting to try to cool the home.
  • Once the 30 minutes have passed, set your thermostat to about five degrees lower than the current temperature so it can work more efficiently. You should find your system is ready to turn on again after its short rest.

Remember to prioritize your safety during a power outage and follow any guidelines or recommendations provided by your local power utility company.

When the Basic Steps Fail

Should your air conditioning system not respond after you have taken the basic steps above, it is time to contact a professional for more assistance. Call Snyder Heating& Air Conditioning or schedule an appointment online for fast, friendly assistance from hvac repair professionals who understands the particulars of Florida climate control! If your AC froze up after power outage caused by a brownout or lightning strike, we have HVAC technicians that can help.

where you’ll find snyder

Snyder Air Conditioning, Plumbing and Electric serves families across Florida. You'll find our technicians are just a short phone call away in neighborhoods throughout these counties:


  • Alachua
  • Baker
  • Clay
  • Duval
  • Flagler
  • Nassau
  • St. Johns


  • Broward
  • Martin
  • Miami-Dade
  • Palm Beach
  • St. Lucie

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