How To Stop A Window Air Conditioner Resetting Itself

Typically, you can set and forget your AC. You just let it run and it does its job keeping you cool. So it can be pretty annoying when you constantly need to stop a window air conditioner that’s resetting itself. 

Well, take a deep—cool!—breath. I’m about to tell you all you need to know to fix the issue. 

First, there are a few issues that could be the cause. The problem could be a dirty filter. Or you could have a circuit breaker tripping for some reason. Other electrical problems could be a short in the wiring or a loose connection. Finally, your capacitor could be failing. 

So let’s discuss what you need to do to address these issues. But be aware, some electrical issues should be handled by a pro. 

Window air conditioner correctly installed
Follow the steps below to solve this resetting issue

What You’ll Need 

Different problems will require different tools, so it’s unlikely you’ll need everything on the list below. Try to pinpoint your problem before gathering the necessary tools. 

  • Screwdriver
  • New filter 
  • Cloth
  • Brush
  • Multimeter
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Zip ties

AC Resetting Due to a Dirty Filter – The Fix 

How to Disassemble Your Window Air Conditioner

If your window air conditioner is resetting itself—turning off and on—it could simply be because you haven’t been keeping up with your filter maintenance. 

Over time, your filter will build up with a layer of dirt and debris as it does its job. But the thicker that film becomes the more its efficiency drops. To the point where it can’t do its job at all. Instead of filtering the air, it’s completely blocking it. 

When air intake is blocked, the internal coils can seize up or the unit could start to overheat, which will prompt your air conditioner to shut itself down. 

So if you have a filter that you can’t see through anymore, it’s time to change it.

I’m hoping most of you already know how to change a filter, but here is the step-by-step method. 

Step 1 

Turn off your air conditioner

Step 2

Remove the front grill (The process here will vary by make and model, but most window AC brands will have clips or screws holding it in place)

Step 3

Remove the old filter

Step 4

Replace with a new filter (Be sure to check your user manual and replace with the filter that’s specified for your unit)

Step 5

Replace the grill

Step 6

Turn your air conditioner back on and test. If it continues to run without resetting, you have solved your problem!

AC Resetting Due to Tripped Breaker – The Fix 

Circuit Breaker box
Check if the breaker is tripping first

If you paid attention to the install rules of your window air conditioner and it’s plugged into the appropriate type of outlet and circuit, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you discover your breaker is tripping, you may have a bigger issue than an appliance that is rated for more than your circuit can handle. 

Step 1

Confirm if your air conditioner is rated for a 15 or 20-amp circuit. You can use a calculator that will determine watts to amps. Make sure your ac only uses 80% of the amperage on the circuit—for example, a 15-amp circuit can handle about 12 amps. The exact amps should be indicated on the model / serial number tag.

Step 2

If everything is okay circuit-wise, make sure the air conditioner is plugged into a properly grounded outlet. 

Step 3

If your circuit can’t handle the unit, you’ll need to locate it on a circuit that will. 

AC Resetting Due to Clogged Drain – The Fix 

This could be the issue especially If you have an older model window air conditioner that has drain holes or plugs. Condensate drips from the unit into a drain pan where it can collect—if there’s a clog in the hole. 

Refer to the user’s manual of your specific model to find a drain. However, if you have an older unit, and can’t find a manual online, there are a few places you can check.

Typically, you can find the hole at the bottom of the exterior part of your air conditioner—the part that sits outside of your window. Note you will need to remove the unit from the window.

Look for the hole somewhere in the middle or sides and if you can’t find it open up the housing and follow the condensate hose. If you can’t find a hole anywhere, it may be because you have a newer unit that doesn’t require a drainage hole.

Once you’ve found the hole, follow these steps.

Step 1

Unplug your air conditioner

Step 2

If you have an unsupported window unit, slightly tilt it to drain any excess water

Step 3

Remove the air conditioner from the window, place it somewhere stable, and then remove the outer casing

Step 4

Using a brush or cloth, clean the area around the drain hole, and make sure water can flow through it easily

Step 5

Remove and clean the drip pan

Step 6

If the drip pan is badly rusted, replace it

Step 7

Reassemble and reinstall your air conditioner, making sure it’s tilted back slightly to allow for easy drainage

Step 8

Plug your air conditioner back in

AC Resetting Due to a Faulty Capacitor – The Fix 

How to Replace a Capacitor 

One of the symptoms of a bad capacitor—along with a variety of things such as not cooling enough—is your air conditioner shutting off on its own. Fortunately, with the use of a multimeter, you can test the energy charge of your capacitor.

Read over the following and watch the video before attempting to do anything yourself. If you’re uncomfortable with the process, please consider a handyman or professional.

Step 1

Remove your air conditioner from the window and set it somewhere stable

Step 2

Remove the outer casing

Step 3

Remove the air filter

Step 4

Access the control box by removing the screws holding it in place

Step 5

Carefully release any stored electrical charge so you don’t get a shock. See timestamp 3:40 in the video above

Step 6

Release the wires 

Step 7

Loosen the screws holding the capacitor in place

Step 8 

Remove old capacitor 

Step 9

Install new capacitor, reassemble wiring and box cover 

Step 10 

Replace the filter, outer casing, and grill

Step 11

Reinstall in window 

Conclusion

If you need to stop a window air conditioner from resetting itself, it’s often easy to find out what it’s a symptom of. It could simply be that you have it plugged into an outlet that doesn’t supply sufficient power or a few other reasons.

Another easy-to-rectify issue could be a dirty filter.

Unfortunately, if the cause is something else, you’ll likely have to remove your air conditioner from the window and take it apart to discover the problem. In this case, the issue could be:

  • A clogged drain hole
  • A failing capacitor

Clearing a drain hole is a fairly easy fix but you may want to have someone with a bit more know-how deal with a failing capacitor.

Hopefully, the information above has answered your question. Why not take a look at some of our related articles below to see if there’s something else we can help you with?

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more