Air Conditioner Control [Detailed Guide, Issues & Solutions]

As excellent as an air conditioner is, you cannot operate it without the control. Learn what ab air conditioner control is, possible issues, and solutions.

air conditioner control

What Is an HVAC Panel?

HVAC means heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. In many circles, HVAC refers to an air conditioner, and many air conditioners have control panels. A control panel on an air conditioner is the system that houses and protects some electrical parts and wiring. The panel allows you to power and control the unit. You can read set temperatures, operation modes, filter status, and other vital aspects of the air conditioner from the panel and control them.

Not all air conditioners have a control panel, and in such cases, the thermostat does the job of the control panel. A programmable thermostat allows you to set temperature and fan speed functions. But you cannot determine the status of the filter from the thermostat. That means having to check the filter manually every two weeks or every month.

Air Conditioner Control Panel Not Working – How to Fix

If your air conditioner has a control panel that stops working, try resetting the unit. Your air conditioner may have a dedicated reset button; consult the user manual for further instructions. Otherwise, turn off the thermostat, disconnect the air conditioner from the wall outlet and turn off the circuit breaker. Wait about thirty seconds and turn on the air conditioner but wait a little longer before turning on the thermostat.

If the reset does not fix the control panel, you may have to replace the control module. But first, check the connection point where the control module plugs into the unit. Apply some contact cleaner to that point; it may fix the contact issue if the control module has partial contact with the control board.

However, if the problem continues, it may be time to replace the module. You can hire a professional to do the job or opt to do it yourself. Check your air conditioner type and model before purchasing a replacement; modules are brand and model-specific. You may have to replace the module even if one or two buttons are no longer working. This is because you cannot replace individual buttons.

What Is an Air Conditioner Control Board?

An air conditioner control board or printed circuit board (PCB) is the brain of the air conditioning system. It governs the functions of most of the parts of the unit, and when it is not working, the air conditioner cannot function. It receives readings from the thermostat about certain functions and parts of the system, processes the readings, and sends messages to the concerned parts.

Air Conditioner Control Board Not Working – Solution

It is pretty easy to misdiagnose a control board, not just for an air conditioner but also for other appliances. Therefore, it is best to check other components of the air conditioner that are more likely to fail before settling on the control board. Control boards rarely fail, though they are affordable and easy to replace if they do.

Start with the air filter; ensure it is clean and in good working condition. When a control board malfunctions, it will ground the functions of the air conditioner, such as producing cool air. There will be reduced output, and even if the compressor turns on, the unit will not run as it should. This is because the board is the brain of the unit.

You may have to remove and wash the filter. While doing that, inspect the evaporator coil; dirty filters tend to cause the coils to freeze. Also, check the blower wheel and motor, the outdoor condenser coils, compressor, fan, relay, and capacitor. If all the parts are in poor working condition, inspect the control board.

Ensure you turn off the air conditioner and completely disconnect it from electric power. Unmount the board from the pins and bracket holding it in place and inspect the back. If there are spots that appear burnt on the back of the board, even if they are not readily visible on the top of it, replace the control board.

But if not, carefully place the board down and disconnect wires and other connections. To make reconnection easier and more accurate, you may want to take photos of the wire connections before removing any wire. 

The board has small cube-like attachments; they are relays that typically energize the motors of the blower and condenser fan. If the fans do not energize and nothing else seems to be working on the board, tap the black cubes using the handle of a screwdriver. It may be that the contacts inside the relays are sticking, making it seem as if they are not working. But if there is no response, it may be time to replace the control board; once the relays on the board fail, the board is bad.

Air Conditioner Remote Control Not Working – Solved

If you discover that the remote control of your air conditioner is not working, check the following:

1. Proximity

You may be too far from the sensor or pointing it the wrong way. Some air conditioners do not need you to stand too close before engaging the remote, but others may require you to stand close for the remote to work. Otherwise, the remote control will mimic a non-functional one.

You may also want to clean the air conditioner and remote control sensors. If they are covered with a significant amount of dust or grime, they cannot engage. While doing that, keep obstructions out of the way; the remote’s sensor cannot reach the air conditioner.

2. Batteries

If proximity is not the problem, check the remote control’s batteries. It is pretty straightforward to check and replace the batteries if they are old. Slide off the back cover of the remote control and inspect the batteries. If they have been in use for too long, it is time to change them. But adjust them a little, cover them, and try the remote again.

If it still does not work, remove the batteries and put new ones in their place. Ensure you put them in the correct order before trying the remote again. It is most likely that the remote control will work this time unless the batteries were so old that they leaked fluid and damaged the entire remote. 

If that is the case, replace the remote control. Many air conditioner manufacturers design the models to indicate when the remote needs new batteries through a message on the remote’s display. That way, you do not have to wait too long before replacing expired batteries.

3. Polarity

You will recognize the batteries’ polarities by looking at the clear + or – signs at the top and bottom. They inform you on how to position the batteries for them to work. Check the battery chamber behind the remote to see the recommended polarity. Then, position the batteries accordingly.

4. Control Board

The receiver on the air conditioner’s control board may be defective. Check the control board if the remote control seems to be in good working condition and nothing else seems to be the problem. You may have to replace it to fix the remote control problem.

Do Universal AC Remotes Work?

Universal air conditioner remote controls do work for air conditioners. All you have to do is program the universal remote to fit the specifics of your unit, and it will become compatible with the air conditioner.

How to Turn On an Air Conditioner Without a Remote Control

All air conditioners have Power buttons on the cabinet. They are usually conspicuous buttons with a power sign on them. Sometimes, the button is red, and you cannot miss it. Once you press the button, the air conditioner comes on.

You can also use your phone to turn on the unit. If your phone has an IR infrared sensor, you can download the control app into your phone, activate it, and use it as a controller for your air conditioner.

Air Conditioner Control Panel Has No Power – What to Do

If your air conditioner has a control panel and it is blank, ensure the air conditioner is running. It may not be receiving enough power, so you may hear it beep without turning on and running. Disconnect it from power, turn off the circuit breaker, wait a minute, and turn on the air conditioner. Wait for the compressor to start operating and the control panel to become lit. Contact an HVAC technician to check the air conditioner if that does not happen.

In many cases, the thermostat is the control panel for the air conditioner. If it is not coming on, check its batteries, especially if the display is blank. Remove the batteries and put new ones. Try the thermostat again, and if it still does not work, it may have loose internal wiring. Have a technician check the thermostat for faults and fix or replace it.

In addition, check the circuit breaker. It may be tripped or have blown a fuse. Go to the breaker, most likely beside the outdoor condensing unit. Open it and check to see if it is off. Turn it back on and check the thermostat. If the breaker trips off again or the thermostat does not work, hire a technician for a more thorough job.

You may want to check the condensate drain pan to see if it is full. Typically, when it is full, it means the drain line is obstructed and should be cleared using a wet/dry vacuum. Also, empty the pan and clean it before putting it back in place. An overflowing drain pan may trigger a safety switch that turns off the thermostat and air conditioner. 

Note: These steps also apply when the temperature control thermostat of your air conditioner is not working.

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How Can I Control My AC with WiFi?

There are a couple of ways to control your air conditioner with WiFi. One way is to use a smart AC controller. It is a smart device that allows you to manage your unit using your phone and add features that were not there. 

The device is capable of helping you save energy, which is one of the priorities of most homeowners. You can also check usage and filter status, set the temperature, and even set schedules for up to one week, among other features.

Another way to control your air conditioner with WiFi is to invest in a smart AC. You will not need a smart controller to maneuver the unit; all the WiFi capabilities are already built into the unit. The next step is to download the specific model’s app to your phone, register the air conditioner, connect it to your WiFi, and control it from your phone. This article is an example of how to set up your smart air conditioner’s WiFi.

Can an Air Conditioner Control Humidity?

An air conditioner can control the humidity in your living space. It does not only provide cool air by absorbing the warmth in the air, but it also absorbs the moisture in the air. Warm air tends to carry humidity, and the warmer the air, the higher the humidity.

Your air conditioner may absorb more moisture from the air. Use the Dry mode of operation, where the air conditioner cools to a certain point, stops, and dries the air. It does not supply additional cooling at this point; it works more like a dehumidifier. That way, it lowers the humidity in the room.

It may also help to get a dehumidifier if your area has high humidity. An air conditioner may not be able to clear the humidity in the air if it is higher than it can carry. You will have a lot of condensate running off the air conditioner, more than the drain pan can carry or evaporate. It may help to check and empty the pan or water collection tank for portable air conditioners for times when the weather is excessively humid.

How to Replace an Air Conditioner Control Panel

Follow these steps to remove and replace the control panel of your air conditioner:

Press the Power button to turn off the air conditioner and disconnect the power cord from the wall outlet. Lift the front panel or grille out and remove the air filter. Next, use a screwdriver to remove the screws holding the panel secure to the air conditioner cabinet. You may need to pull the panel out with gentle force in some cases.

Now, set the old control panel aside and put the new one in its place. Secure it to the air conditioner using the screws. Ensure you connect all the wires correctly before fixing the panel, reassembling the other parts, and turning the air conditioner on again.

How Does an Air Conditioner Control Temperature?

An air conditioner uses a return air temperature sensor to check the room temperature. You set the temperature on the thermostat and choose the operating mode for the unit. Then, the air conditioner begins cooling the room.

It will run until the room temperature reaches the set temperature. The sensor detects it, signals the control board and thermostat, and turns off the cooling function. The cooling function begins running again as soon as the air temperature rises above the set temperature. 

Setting the air conditioner temperature a few degrees lower than the outside temperature is crucial if you want the room to cool. That means determining the current room temperature before running the air conditioner.


It is almost impossible to run an air conditioner without using the control. So, air conditioner control plays a vital role in the entire air conditioning process. Learn how to use the controls, even without a remote control in this article. You will also know what to do if your air conditioner remote stops working. 

In addition, you will see steps to remove and replace the control panel if necessary. However, contact the manufacturer for professional assistance if fixing the control issues is challenging. Alternatively, use the services of a qualified technician for the job.

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