Why Does My Air Conditioner Turn off by Itself in Houston, TX?

As a Houston, TX, resident, you know the city can be blisteringly hot most of the year, especially in the summer. However, were you aware that it’s also among the ten hottest U.S. cities? It ranks 7th, considering its temperatures can and have surpassed 100 degrees for 30 straight days.

With such high temperatures, the last thing you want is for your air conditioner to fail in the middle of the day.

But alas, it has, which is why you’re now on this page, wanting to know, “Why does my air conditioner turn off by itself?” You’re also likely wondering if there’s anything you can do before calling in the pros.

We’ve shared the answers you’re looking for in this guide, so read on. 

Why Does My Air Conditioner Turn Off by Itself?

Your air conditioning system may shut down due to a thermostat setting or issue. This problem may also arise from overheating or electrical problems. In many cases, the latter results from obstructed airflow that often stems from clogged air filters.

Let’s discuss these culprits further and the DIY steps you can take to correct them. 

Thermostat Setting

You may have forgotten about it, but you or another family member may have set the thermostat’s timer. Once engaged, this setting will automatically turn off the air conditioner based on the pre-set time. For example, it may do so after running for four or five hours or at specific times.

So, the thermostat setting is the first thing to check when you’re having AC problems. If it did turn the AC off, switch it back on and set it to “Auto” mode.

The Auto mode will trigger the AC to turn on, complete a cooling cycle, and switch off once the air is cool enough based on your temperature setting. It will repeat these steps when the thermostat’s internal thermometer registers that the temp inside your home is warmer than that of your setting.

Thermostat Issues

A thermostat with a low battery, chip errors, loose connections, and significant dirt build-up can malfunction. These problems can interfere with the cooling cycle, causing your AC to turn off randomly. So, if the above step doesn’t help, try the tips in this guide to troubleshoot and fix your thermostat

Severely Clogged Air Filters

Severely clogged AC filters restrict the air flowing in and out of your system. As a result, your air conditioner will have to work harder to get air to pass through the filter. This extra work puts unnecessary strain on its components, potentially causing them to overheat.

Overheating parts can then trigger the air conditioner’s emergency shut-off feature. This protective mechanism turns off the AC to prevent excessive heat from causing a complete system failure.

So, if your AC feels like it’s not blowing enough cold air and turns off by itself, it may be due to a clogged air filter. In this case, swap the filthy filter with a clean one to improve the airflow and lower your system’s energy consumption

Blocked Outdoor Unit

Also called the condenser unit, the outdoor portion of an HVAC system releases heat into the environment. This heat is from inside your home and absorbed by the evaporator coils in the indoor unit.

Because of its critical role, the condenser unit must always be free of debris and obstructions. Otherwise, it’ll be unable to release the hot air the AC has collected to the outdoors. If this happens, your HVAC system is at risk of overheating, which can then cause it to shut down by itself.

So, after changing your AC filter, you should also inspect your outdoor unit for debris build-up. Remove anything obstructing airflow, such as trash, potted plants, and other items. Ensuring all sides of the metal box have at least two feet of clearance should also be part of your routine HVAC care and maintenance checklist. 

Electrical Problems

Short circuits and a tripped circuit breaker can cause your AC to turn off.

Such problems can be due to an issue with your home’s electrical system. For example, your home may have outdated wiring or an old electrical panel that can no longer support your energy demands. In this case, your best bet is to call a professional electrician for electrical upgrades.

However, electrical issues can also result from an HVAC malfunction. For instance, if the AC draws in more energy as it struggles to cool your home due to poor airflow. In this case, you can try changing the filter and cleaning the outdoor unit to see if they’re enough to fix the issue. 

Call the Pros for Help

If you’ve tried all the troubleshooting steps discussed above to no avail, the best thing you can do is to hire a reputable licensed HVAC company. They’ll send a highly experienced and skilled technician to your home to determine and fix the root cause of your AC woes.

However, it’s much better not to wait for your system to break down. Instead, consider investing in pre-seasonal AC tune-ups. They involve a thorough inspection, cleaning, and optimization of your system.

Pre-seasonal maintenance also lets technicians spot problems like:

  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Improperly calibrated thermostats
  • Temperature inconsistencies
  • Electrical problems
  • Inadequate humidity control

The technicians will then inform you of the issues they discover. They’ll provide expert insights on resolving these problems.

For instance, they may suggest replacing an old, erratic thermostat with a smart one. They’ll also teach you how to program the new thermostat correctly to help you save up to 10% on your yearly heating and cooling bills. 

Don’t Wait for Your AC to Fail Completely in Houston, TX

From thermostat errors to a clogged filter or outdoor unit, all these are possible answers to your question, “Why does my air conditioner turn off by itself?” So, as soon as you experience this issue, try the troubleshooting steps we’ve shared.

If they don’t help, don’t worry, as the highly experienced HVAC technicians at Guy’s Air Conditioning and Heating can. We’ve been helping Houston residents with their HVAC concerns for over 35 years. You can count on us to do the same for you.

So, contact us today for your free estimate! Since we operate 24/7, you can schedule your service anytime.