Emergency Breakdown: What to Do When Your Air Conditioner Stops Working

Aircon Deep Clean

Imagine this: It is a scorching hot day. Fortunately, you have an aircon to keep you comfortable. So, you are now lounging in your home happily as your aircon shelters you from the heat. Unfortunately, without warning, your aircon stops working. Panic sets in as the temperature begins to rise. What do you do?

An aircon breaking down is never a pleasant experience, especially during the peak of summer.

But don’t despair!

Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do when your aircon stops working.

Step 1: Stay Calm and Assess the Situation

Before diving into any action, stay calm.

Then, take a moment to assess the situation. Try to determine if it is really a complete breakdown or just a specific issue like there is an unusual noise in your system or the cooling has been reduced.

Also, check other electrical appliances to rule out the possibility of a power outage.

Step 2: Check the Obvious Culprits

Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as flipping a switch or changing a setting.

  • Check the thermostat settings: Maybe you have accidentally turned it off or the aircon is on a timer or it is set on auto. If it’s an inverter and is set on auto, the aircon automatically stops the condenser from working if it reaches the desired temperature. It will start again when the temperature changes
  • Check the circuit breaker: A tripped breaker can cut power to the aircon. Just reset it and see if the system restarts.
  • Check the filters and vents: Blocked filters or vents can hinder airflow. Check if there are any obstructions. The filters could also be caked with dust and debris. Clean that and check if it is working.

Step 3: Turn Off the System

If those mentioned above didn’t resolve the issue, turn off the system to prevent any potential damage. It is also advisable to unplug the aircon in case there is an actual electrical issue.

Step 4: Check for Visible Signs of Damage

Inspect the indoor and outdoor units for any visible signs of damage.

Here are some things you need to look out for:

  • Ice Build-up: This could indicate a refrigerant leak or an airflow issue.
  • Smoke or Burn Marks: This could mean there is an electrical issue, the compressor failed, or the motors in the fan overheated and burned out.
  • Unusual Noises: Sounds like grinding or squeaking may point to mechanical problems such as lack of lubrication.
  • Water Leaks: If there is a leak, it could be caused by a clogged drain pipe or a frozen evaporator coil.

Step 5: Contact a Professional

If you have tried everything and nothing has worked and you were able to see or deduce that your unit has experienced the issues mentioned above, then it’s time to call a professional.

Professional aircon technicians have the expertise to diagnose and fix these problems safely.

Have a list of aircon service providers with their contact numbers for quick access.

Step 6: Utilise Alternative Cooling Methods

While waiting for professional help, employ alternative cooling methods to stay comfortable:

  • Fans: Circulating air can help you feel cooler. Pro tip, if it’s really hot, place a bowl of ice in front of the fan. This can help circulate cooler air. While not as effective and efficient as your aircon, doing this can keep you cool.
  • Shades and Curtains: Keep them closed to block out the heat from the outside.
  • Hydrate: Keeping yourself hydrated, especially with something cold, can help your body maintain a comfortable temperature.

Step 7: Understand the Repair Process

Once the technician arrives, explain the situation and ask for the following:

  • A clear explanation of the problem
  • What is the repair process
  • How long will it take to finish the job
  • The estimated cost

The last part is important. In fact, you should request a written quote to avoid any unexpected charges.

After that, you just have to wait until the technician gets finished fixing your unit.

Special Step: Consider Regular Maintenance

Remember the adage “prevention is better than cure”? well, that can be applied to your aircon as well. As such, consider regular maintenance to prevent many breakdowns. This can be in the form of:

  • Scheduled Inspections: Have a technician inspect your system regularly to catch problems early.
  • Planned Maintenance: Schedule cleanings with professionals, deep or otherwise, to ensure that your aircon works perfectly and efficiently.
  • DIY Maintenance: Do simple tasks like cleaning the filters or wiping the casings must be done regularly.

Final Thoughts

An emergency breakdown of your air conditioner doesn’t have to be a catastrophe.

By following the above steps, you can minimise your discomfort and potentially even resolve the issue yourself.

The key lies in staying calm, checking common problems, and knowing when to call in professional help.

That said, regular maintenance is the best way to prevent unexpected breakdowns.

Consider scheduling routine inspections and performing simple maintenance tasks to keep your cooling system running smoothly.

Stay cool and prepared, even when the unexpected happens!



Denisse loves reading and writing about culture, history, and politics. Outside writing articles for The Singaporean, Denisse enjoys musicals, gaming, and Harry Potter.

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