Your split-system cooling system can’t operate unless both units – the indoor evaporator and the outdoor condenser/compressor – are operating. If the outside unit stops working, but the inside unit is still running, with the blower fan operating, you’re still out of luck. The system won’t be cooling your home. When this happens, try the following:
• Make sure the AC hasn’t been turned off. Typically, there’s an on-off switch in a small box near the outside unit.
• Check the circuit box to make sure the breaker for the outside unit hasn’t tripped. If it has, turn it all the way off, then flip it back on. If this happens more than once, you’ll want a trained expert to determine why the breaker keeps tripping.
• Make sure the thermostat is set to “cool” and that the temperature setting is lower than the room temperature. (If this is the problem, your inside unit likely isn’t working either.)
Other Issues Might Be at Fault for Your AC Malfunction
When the outside unit breaks down but the inside unit is running, the culprit may well be a broken compressor. That’s typically a major repair. It might even warrant a system replacement. If the outside condenser/compressor unit is a lost cause, resist the temptation to only replace that unit. It’s usually much better from a performance and efficiency standpoint to buy an integrated system, rather than mixing and matching indoor and outdoor units.