Where’s The Reset Button On My Home AC Or Heat Pump System?


Before I write about a topic, like this one, I do quite a bit of research in regards to who else is also writing about the topic and what they have to say. It seems their is quite a bit of confusion created because the answers are apples and oranges.

The reset for a whole house air conditioner is going to be in the outdoor unit. You will have to look for it. It will have a small button that’s probably red in color and two wires protruding from the top. The opposite end of the pressure switch will have a small copper tube connected to the systems refrigeration line.

Most articles written about this question do not specify the type of AC units they are talking about.

Or maybe Google’s artificial intelligence is confused because a lot of the terms are the same for window units and full systems and AI is still learning or can’t distinguish a difference.

The reset for a window unit would likely be at the end of the cord. Or, it may have no manual reset.

You may see a similar switch with no reset button. That would be an automatic pressure switch. If their is only one with no button it’s most likely for loss of charge switch. If an air conditioner has a Freon leak this loss of charge switch kills the system to save the compressor.

Pressure switch with no reset button. I’m looking for a better image.

If you can see two of these switches with no reset button, one of them would be for loss of charge and the other a high pressure switch.

Below is a good image of a high pressure switch with the red button, two wires attached and the copper tube connecting to the sealed system containing the refrigerant.

Below is another image from Amazon that looks similar to the image above. This image is a clickable link to Amazon where you may find some more images and prices just for spins and giggles.

If their is no obvious red button on the outside of your unit then look down inside. For safety sake turn off the power before probing around. Makes sense that the unit is off or you wouldn’t be looking for a reset button. Take a small stick or screw driver and spin the fan to get a better look.

Be safe. Can’t say that enough. Sticking stuff in fans isn’t always advisable. Turning off the power is the safe approach. You will still hear a click if the reset button has popped off.

Again this article is about complete whole house forced air systems, not one of those units stuck in a window or on the floor with 4″ vents going out the window.

So if your unit is off and not responding to your thermostat settings, your heat pump or air conditioner will most likely not have a reset button unless it’s a Rheem or Ruud unit and their are a few others that come with reset buttons.

In the last 40 plus years that I’ve been doing HVAC I just haven’t seen many manual reset buttons. Lennox may have introduced a few into their lines of equipment.

If you have a manual reset it would look like the image below which is also a clickable link for Amazon if you care to see what they cost.

I think the reason behind not having a reset button is because people like to push them, repeatedly. It should be called a kill switch. They pop open for a reason, usually a bad reason. Push it once, if it pops off again you should call a technician.

To be on the safe side you should call a technician first and let him or her monitor the unit as the reset button is pushed.

Air Conditioner Reset Button Not Working, What Now?

It’s entirely possible that the reset button never popped off (I almost wrote pooped off, more like pooped out) and the problem is elsewhere. Pushing on the reset and not feeling or hearing a click is indicative of loss of power or a system failure.

The video below demonstrates finding a reset inside an air conditioner and a man pushing the button with a stick. You hear a slight click when he pushes on the reset with his stick.

The compressor starts but no fan.

No fan could either mean a bad capacitor or the motor itself. Other possibilities could include bad relays or wires.

What this boils down to is that if you push the reset and nothing happens or it starts with no fan, or it starts and the reset pops off again, you need to call a service technician.

I’ve had customers that push their reset button every year and finally they decide somethings wrong and call me only to find out one of their coils is packed with stuff and no air is getting through.

Even a dirty air filter on a heat pump in the heat mode will pop a reset button. It’s all about air flow, air flow, air flow.

A packed coil is not something you can see right off because of the finned covers and it will lead to an early demise of your system, probably a compressor. Or iced up coils are another result caused by dirty filters and plugged coils.

It’s one of the things that can easily be neglected even during a maintenance call.

Summary Of Pressure Switches And Their Purpose

Push it once and hope for the best. If it continues to pop off then get some professional help. The pressure switch has a purpose and that is to protect you against expensive repairs.

You are literally taking a gamble by pushing the switch. It could make the situation worse. Not always, that’s why I call it a gamble.

Since you’ve read this far, why not travel just a bit further and scope out a couple of my favorite heating and cooling products and tools.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope the information has led to your ability to make good decisions in either working on or discovering how to solve problems in your home HVAC equipment. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them I do earn a commission. In all honesty they are products that I would use in my own home or the homes of my friends and family.

Fireplace remotes by Skytech Remote Control Products . My wife loves this and it probably took all of 30 minutes to install. Replace that wall switch or thermostat for your gas fireplace. Easy installation and instructions. In fact I wrote an article that covers the job pretty thoroughly I think.

Honeywell Thermostats. My favorite two Honeywell stats are the T6 Pro and the 8000 Pro series but their is a bunch to select from besides those two models. You can select WiFi that has the capability of operating your system from your smart phone no mater where you are. Honeywell tech support for homeowners is the best out there. Call them if you need at 800-468-1502 or comment below if you have questions.

Fieldpiece HS33 Expandable Manual Ranging Stick Multimeter for HVAC/R. I carry two of these in my service truck. Just like a spare tire, when I get out away from everything, it’s no time for a break down. The Fieldpiece HS33 gives me the ability to do any aspect of my trade. I can measure motor or element amps, check capacitors, and AC or DC voltages. Even different scales of OHMS for finding shorted windings or grounded conductors in motors or compressors.

Chad Peterson

Chad Peterson is near 40 year veteran of the HVAC industry. "I like to explain heating and air conditioning problems in a way the average home owner can understand. "

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