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Nordstrom Heating & Air, Inc Blog

AC Won’t Stop? Here’s How to Shut It Down

Your thermostat tells your AC when to turn on, and when to turn off. It reads the air temperature, and sends simple “on” or “off” requests to the AC. But what happens when the AC never receives its “off” request?

The air conditioner doesn’t stop running, even when it’s cool enough in your home. That puts excessive stress on the system, not to mention your energy bills. You can’t just let it run continuously.

Spoiler alert: this ends in an air conditioning repair appointment, but in the meantime, you need to power down the air conditioner in a safe way. Let’s show you how to do that.

Option #1: The Outside Kill Switch

Well, it’s not a kill switch per se, but it’ll cut the power to your AC. If you have an outdoor AC cabinet, there’s a switch somewhere nearby, usually attached to the side of your home. It’ll have a flip-up cap and wiring that runs from the box, so it should be pretty easy to spot.

Open the cap, and flip the switch. Now’s your chance to listen for the sound of the air conditioner powering down. You’ll notice the noise dissipate, and the fan blades visible through the grill on the top of the AC cabinet should stop moving.

Just to be safe, you want to go inside and put your hand over a vent or two. Make sure there’s no airflow coming out of it, because if so, that means there’s still power going to the blower motor. Time to move onto the next option.

Option #2: The Breaker Switch

Inside your house, there’s a circuit breaker panel. It’s a metal box that’s been embedded in the wall, normally in a garage or mudroom. Once you find it, open the metal door on the front.

You’ll see a set of switches going down in a couple of rows. Next to each switch, there should (hopefully) be proper labels, if your electrician did their job right. Find “AC” or “Air Conditioner” along the labels.

Flip the switch. It might look like two switches that are bridged by a small piece of metal, and that’s okay—they’ll flip together and power down your AC. If this doesn’t work, it’s likely that the breaker has been mislabeled. Either way, you’ve done all you can, and now it’s time to wait for your technician.

Be Careful

We only outlined these methods because many others can be dangerous, even ones you find in forum posts and on YouTube video tutorials. If it involves being near exposed wiring at all, it’s not an option you should choose. HVAC technicians have the right experience and safety protocols in place; don’t risk tampering with wiring or anything with live electricity.

Let’s Get Your AC Back On (the Right Way)

With your AC powered down, it’s time to wait for your HVAC technician to arrive and let them handle it from here. We’ll work quickly to handle the problem and get your AC back up and running as it’s supposed to in no time.

Contact Nordstrom Heating & Air, Inc. today to schedule your air conditioner repair as soon as possible.

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