Why Is My AC Not Blowing Cold Air After a Power Outage?

Summertime storms and power outages have the potential to cause discomfort for Maryland homeowners, especially when you find your AC not blowing cold air after the power comes back on. Grove Heating & Cooling explains the common causes behind this issue and what to do to fix them.

Possible Causes of an AC Unit Not Blowing Cold Air

Once the power comes on after an outage, you expect your air conditioning system to fire back up as normal. However, power outages can cause issues that stand in the way of home comfort, namely an AC not blowing cold air. 

If you discover warm air coming from your vents as the cooling system runs after a power outage, these are the most common sources of the problem:

Tripped Breaker

Both the indoor and outdoor components of your central cooling system are powered by their own individual circuit breakers. When surge occurs, which is likely before a storm’s power outage, the breaker trips to shut down the circuit.

Since each portion of the system has its own breaker, it is possible that one breaker has tripped but the other has not. If the breaker to the outdoor air conditioning components trips but the indoor components’ breaker has not, the result is no cold air. This is because the outdoor equipment that is integral to the cooling process is not running, but your indoor components that facilitate air circulation are. The air handler indoors is still powered, so the blower fan pushes air through the ducts – it’s just not cooled.

If your air conditioning system isn’t blowing cool air following a power outage, go to your home’ electrical panel and look for the circuits which power your cooling system components. Find the circuit breaker marked condenser or outdoor air conditioner and see if it is tripped. If so, reset the circuit breaker and allow the air conditioning system to run. If the breaker trips again right away, do not reset it again – call for air conditioning repair to solve the problem.

Failed Capacitor

Air conditioners use a capacitor to start up the system’s compressor. Power outage surges can cause the capacitor to fail. If the capacitor blows during a power outage, the compressor will not come back on once power is restored. Therefore, the outdoor unit does not work to perform heat exchange, yet the indoor unit operates normally. Because of this, your air conditioner isn’t blowing cool air because the heat exchange process is not completed with the cooling cycle.

You can visually assess the capacitor’s condition by looking into the outdoor unit – it looks like a canister on top of the compressor. The top usually bulges or leaks an oily liquid if the capacitor has blown. This issue needs to be repaired by a trained HVAC technician.

Failed Compressor

A power surge can also cause the air conditioner’s compressor to fail. When the compressor fails, there is no heat exchange, resulting in no cold air. This is because the compressor is not circulating refrigerant through the system, extracting warm air.

Your trusted HVAC technician is able to assess the compressor and inform you if yours has been damaged by the power outage. If the compressor has failed, a compressor replacement is needed to restore system function.

Quality Air Conditioner Repairs After a Power Outage

If there’s no cold air coming from your AC after the power comes back on, we recommend you check the breakers to determine if a tripped breaker has cut power to the outside unit. If breakers trip after resetting or the breakers are on normally yet warm air blows through your vents, schedule air conditioning repair.

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