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Old 04-09-2011, 01:18 PM   #1
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A/C Won't Turn On


I've got a Rheem RAKA-030JAZ A/C unit and went to turn it on for the first time this season and nothing happens. When the thermostat is turned on, the outside unit makes no noise or anything. Breakers are all correct. Heat works fine (separate gas furnace). Fan spins freely by hand. No experience with A/C but I'd like to fix this myself if possible.
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Bryan

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Old 04-09-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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A/C Won't Turn On


By your screen name you have patients, but this patient may need a doctor.

Could be any number of things that could prevent this unit from running, have a look first at the disconnect outside by the unit to be ensured that it is turned on there to.

Mark

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Old 04-09-2011, 01:40 PM   #3
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I work night shift in an ICU and we try to do anything we can before we have to wake up a doctor. They get cranky at 2am!

The only switch I see outside is in a box mounted to the house (looks like a breaker box/fuse box). It is a large black plug that pulls out and flips around the other way to turn it off. It is on. Last week, the gas company was out here looking at the furnace inside, could something inside have gotten hit or accidentally?

Found a web site with a list of things to check before calling a repair man, but it doesn't explain how to check them:

Make sure there is a call from the thermostat
Make sure no Emergency switches are turned off (including the furnace switch)
Make sure the breakers for the indoor and outdoor equipment are in the "on" position- reset if necessary
Make sure the outdoor disconnect is on- some have internal fuses or circuit breakers- if you know how to check fuses you may do so
If you have a condensate pump with a safety switch, check to see if the pump is completely full of water- If so, make sure pump is plugged-in and hose isn't clogged (could be a bad pump)
If your outdoor unit has a "Reset Button" press it- if that was the problem and you have to press it a second time, there is a problem and a service call will be needed
Your unit could have a safety device locking it out. Reset it by turning system off at thermostat or breaker, wait 1 minute and turn back on. Wait up to 10 minutes to see if outdoor unit starts

Tried the breakers and the outside switch described above (I assume that's the disconnect). Even turned them off and waited and turned them back on to see if that might reset things.
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Old 04-09-2011, 01:44 PM   #4
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A/C Won't Turn On


You have done everything that you can to this point, now you need a voltmeter to start testing for power in specific locations.

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Old 04-09-2011, 06:46 PM   #5
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A/C Won't Turn On


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackofall1
You have done everything that you can to this point, now you need a voltmeter to start testing for power in specific locations.

Mark
Yup. Can't do much more unless you have a means for checking voltage.
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Old 04-09-2011, 09:45 PM   #6
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A/C Won't Turn On


You can pull the service panel of the condensing unit off and if the contactor

is pulled in then you know that the call for cool is working properly (so no water/condensate safety devices or switches are tripped) and that the problem is in the unit on the high voltage side. Possibly a bad cap, possibly a shorted compressor.

Be certain you pull the disconnect out first so the you lessen the chance of being shocked, 240 volts isn't pleasant.

Even without high voltage present (the disconnect being pulled out disconnects the high voltage) at the contactor, if the stat and the control board are both working and the call for cool is present (turn the stat to" auto" and "cool" and drop the set point/desired temperature on stat) to the condenser, the contactor should be pulled in.

So pull the disconnect out, open the panel, check contactor to see if it is pulled in. If it is not pulled in, use a rubber handled screwdriver (and with the disconnect now back in so the unit should be receiving high voltage even if at this time it is only to the contactor) push the contactor in but only for a few seconds. If she comes on then you have a low voltage problem as the contactor is not receivng the call to pull in via either the stat, the board or a broken wire or something low voltage, possibly even a switch but this unit has not been turned on in cool for some time so a float switch is out of the question. Maybe a low pressure switch if low on refrigerant.

Let me know if you need further explaining. You don't want to just go and mess around, this is dangerous so don't be afraid to ask and ask again but those steps will give you an idea of if the problem is in which piece of equipment and if it is high or low voltage.

Again, that contactor is dangerous business so when pushing it in with the disconnect in place and "on" and using a rubber handled screwdriver (rubber in your hand!!), do not allow the screwdriver to touch any of the metal, just the plastic bar that pushes in.

Epic diagnostics over.

Last edited by Doc Holliday; 04-09-2011 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 04-14-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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A/C Won't Turn On


Update: I gave in and had an A/C guy come out today. Turns out there was a problem in the thermostat and it wasn't making a call to the A/C (just the furnace). Thermostat replaced, problem solved. Feel a little stupid as I could have probably replaced the thermostat for a lot less myself if I'd known that was the problem, but the guy did a complete inspection of the unit for any other problems, so now I know it's all fixed.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:49 PM   #8
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A/C Won't Turn On


You never know. 3m makes a Wifi thermostat that you can access via the Internet, or iPhone to make changes. When the temps start warming up, I set my thermostat for 'auto', so in the case of this past weekend when we were gone, and the temps got into the 90's during the day, it turned on the a/c. I also started mine in January when the temps got in the 50's to exercise the unit, and make sure no problems would arise when I need it, like last weekend.

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