So, I was changing a light switch and flipping circuit breakers to find the correct one. I accidentally flipped my AC circuit breaker off and then back on. After this I noticed the AC wasn't blowing cold anymore.

The fan inside runs, and air comes out the vents but it is not cold air. So I checked my outside air unit and sure enough, the fan is not spinning. I get a little stick and push the fan blades (in the right direction) and it takes off and begins spinning.

Okay so my capacitor is probably blown.

But still, it is not blowing cold air inside even after I take on the capicitor's job by "stick starting" the fan blades.

  • Have you tried turning the unit off for a bit, and then starting it up again? What's the make and model of the condensing unit? Is there any ice or frost on any of the refrigerant lines? If the compressor is started under load, it's quite possible that it stalled. This would cause it to draw a high current (locked rotor current), which could easily trip any overload protection.
    – Tester101
    Jun 27, 2016 at 14:47

1 Answer 1


Sounds suspiciously like your A/C lacks a suitable time-delay relay to prevent rapid on/off cycling, which is generally a bad thing (and why those are usually included.)

In short, when you "flipped off" the A/C circuit breaker, you should have waited 3-5 minutes before flipping it on again (or the system should have waited that long before attempting to restart the compressor.) The fan motor capacitor (or starting switch) failure might simply be coincidental to the actual failure, which could be compressor damage. At about this point I'm riding the hairy edge of my knowledge (I know that turning the compressor off and back on in a short time is bad, I'm vague on the exact mode of failure this is likely to cause, though I think it may have something to do with the refrigerant vapor condensing to liquid that is incompressible...)


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