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No display on the thermostat and no AC

by The Handyguys

in Blog Posts, Handyguy Brian

Handyguy Brian had the following conversation, via instant messaging, with his lovely wife (or so he thought) about how to troubleshoot a no display issue with a thermostat and no Air Conditioning (AC). No audio here.

Some steps for troubleshooting your AC, thermostat or heat.

thermostat went blankBelow is an actual conversation. The initial assumption was bad batteries in the thermostat but we learned through troubleshooting that the particular thermostat doesn’t need batteries, read on and find out how we got the thermostat back on and the air-conditioning working. There is a surprise at the end!


Sarah: Is there a reason there is no display on the air conditioning controls? It’s hot in here and I wanted to turn it on. It’s blank.

me: probably the batteries are dead in the thermostat. The cover should just pop off and I think 2 AA batteries.

Try that first. If that doesn’t bring it back to life we can then check the electrical panel for a tripped breaker. If that’s not it there are a few other things we can easily check.

Sarah: no batteries

there r no batteries

me:  you sure??

Sarah: yes

me: hmmmmm

check the breaker box, there should be a breaker labeled AC or hvac or something, flip it off and then back on.

it’s probably a double breaker.

Sarah: ok brb

Sarah: nope didnt work

me: If that doesn’t do it, tell me what model number & manufacturer of thermostat we have

Sarah: i have no idea

me: It should say on the cover or something

honeywell xyzpdq123 or something

Sarah: the front says: White-Rodgers

me: okay, and a model ##?

Sarah: there isnt one on the front

me: k, hold on a min…

me: Model number should be on the inside of the front cover.

Sarah: u mean the “type #”?

me: yes

Sarah: 1F86-241

me: reset the thermostat by pressing <up>, <down> buttons and move the SYSTEM switch from OFF to HEAT at the same time.

Sarah: k but we want cold air

me: please do exactly that ^^^^

Sarah: k then do i put it to cool?

me: just do that and tell me if the display comes on

Sarah: kk

me: You are pressing and holding BOTH up and down buttons while moving the switch from off to heat

Sarah: i did that and it didnt work

me: okay, do these things…..

1) Double check all the breakers, turn every one off then on…

2) check the emergency shut-off switch at the top of the basement stairs, make sure someone didn’t mess with it.

Sarah: all of them?!

me: ALL of them

Sarah: the breakers


me: all of them

one at a time

Sarah: fine then check emergency switch?

me: yes, then….

3) check the service disconnect switch, it’s mounted on the side of the main unit in the basement, it’s a normal looking switch.

Sarah: k ill start with the breakers


me: make sure no one messed with it, it should be on.

4) check the service access panel, it’s the cover that faces the red couch. There is a switch behind the cover that turns off the power if it’s removed. Make sure that cover is secure.

me: 5) In the basement, near the service disconnect switch, look for small thin wires, do they look like someone was messing with them? Maybe someone was putting something in that closet and knocked them and pulled one loose?

Sarah: what main unit?

the red switch is on i flipped and flipped all the circuit breakers one at a time so what is the main unit that has the normal looking switch

what is the main unit?

me: In the basement closet, the big beige thing

that all the ducts are connected to.

did anyone put stuff in there and maybe bumped the switch?

Sarah: ooo that thing kk brb

Sarah: nothing is in there that might have bumped it but it was off so i turned it on

me: hmmm, someone messed with it

did that fix the problem?

Sarah: yes thx u

me: whew

Sarah: now the house will get cooler



me: one of the kids switched it

Sarah: y would they do that?

me: just to see what it would do

maybe they thought they would be turning on a light

A few minutes later…

Sarah: That was your daughter you were chatting with. I’ve been one the phone!

me: ahahhahah

she did all that?


Sarah: ye


me: hahha

toooooooooo funny

me: I want to make a post from the chat! Its good info

Sarah: You are funny. ;)

How about that! Handyguy Brian’s 13 year old daughter was able to fix the air conditioning!

This is blog post only, no audio podcast.

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