Why Does My Window Air Conditioner Turn Off By Itself?

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Updated September 16, 2022

Even if you have a top-tier air conditioner, common issues can cause window unit power problems. A faulty air conditioner that gets intermittent power will shut off before reaching a comfortable temperature, leading to hot and stale indoor air. Luckily, the most common window air conditioning problems only require simple repair or maintenance measures. Stick around to learn, “Why does my AC window unit keep turning off?” so you can lower your indoor temperatures.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Electrical issues are the most common cause of a window AC that keeps turning off.
  • Check your AC timer settings, and ensure you’ve correctly set the thermostat.
  • A dirty air filter or compressor problem can trigger an internal safety switch that kills power to the AC.

If you need a new unit and want energy efficiency, read our guide comparing inverter and non-inverter AC systems.

Insider Tip

Always call a licensed air conditioning repair technician to refill your refrigerant level, as it is illegal for unlicensed users to handle AC refrigerants.

Why is My Window Air Conditioning Unit Shutting Off

Power issues on an AC unit can cause frozen evaporator and condenser coils and loud noises from the fan motor or other parts. For example, you might be wondering why your AC stops working at night, which means that it might have a refrigerant leak.

These issues can raise your energy bills and decrease the comfort levels in your home. Luckily, many power problems have simple solutions that you can fix by yourself rather than let them persist for months on end. That said, some repairs require professional technicians, like handling Freon for home ACs.

Check Your Control Panel

Ensure that your window AC’s thermostat is set to your preferred temperature and that the AC remote is operational. Additionally, find your timer settings and make sure that the AC isn’t set to power down automatically.

Bad Wall Outlet or Power Cord

Try plugging your wall unit into an alternate wall outlet and see if you get continuous power. Additionally, a faulty power cord can disrupt the power supply to the AC unit after a few minutes, resulting in intermittent cooling cycles.

Dirty Air Filter

Dirty filters can constrict the air supply to your system, resulting in an overheating AC unit. Some air conditioners feature a safety switch that automatically cuts power to the AC when it overheats.

Faulty Thermostat Sensor

An AC with a bad thermostat sensor cannot sense the actual temperature of your space, leading to cooling issues. The unit will shut off quickly when the broken thermostat signals that your room is cool before the cycle is done.

Warning

Disconnect your AC from power before investigating an AC system’s electrical supply or other individual components.

Bad Compressor Motor

The AC compressor handles the liquid refrigerant in your air conditioner. Some AC models have a compressor circuit that cuts power to the unit if the compressor goes bad. This is a serious problem that usually calls for an AC replacement.

STAT: A 2020 US EIA (Energy Information Agency) survey found that 50% of homes with a window air conditioner unit make less than $40,000 per year. (source)

Why Does My AC Window Unit Keep Turning Off FAQs

How do air conditioners work?

An AC unit pulls warm air from your home and passes it over the air conditioner coils. The cold refrigerant lines absorb the heat, and the cool air is recycled through the AC vents and into your home. An air conditioning unit works best with consistent and efficient airflow through the internal components.

How heavy are window air conditioners?

Window air conditioning systems typically weigh between 40 and 150 pounds. Luckily, you can cross-reference your unit’s BTU output and have a general idea of how heavy it is. In general, the more powerful your window unit air conditioner is, the more it will weigh. For example, if you have a 12,000 BTU window air conditioning unit, you will need help to lift it into place.

How do I reset my AC remote?

If your AC unit's remote control isn't responding, you can reset it by removing the batteries. The remote control should reset without battery power for 5 to 15 minutes. Then, reapply the timer or thermostat settings for your air conditioning.
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