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Why doesn’t my air conditioner remote work?

Author Rod Marchant-Smith | Peninsula Air Conditioning

So, you’ve just got home from your fully air-conditioned, cool and comfortable office on a sweltering hot day. Only to find that when you press the power on your AC remote and nothing happens. You try again and again despite that, nothing happens. No beep, no light, and no cooling air. Has the air conditioner stopped working? Or is it the remote?

Most commonly, it’s the remote that has stopped working. So, before you get into a frenzy and start looking into replacing your air conditioning system, consider the air con remote first.

Here’s the good news, nine times out of ten you can fix your air conditioning remote. Below we look into ways in which you can get your air con remote working again.

How air conditioner remotes work

First, let’s get an understanding of how this magic tool works. Most air conditioning remotes work by emitting infrared-light pulses, which are detected by a receiver within the air conditioning system. If you’re imagining red pulsing light flashing out of the device, like a scene from a Star Wars movie, then let me stop you right there. The infrared pulses from your air conditioner remote are invisible to the naked eye.

This technology comes with a few limitations.

  • The remote must be used over a short distance from the air conditioning system.
  • The remote will not work if there is an object blocking the infrared pulses.
  • Certain types of electrical devices that may be present in the room can disrupt the signal.

Like any form of technology, the air conditioner remote is prone to having issues and not working. Most of the time, there are simple solutions available to get them working again.

Most common air conditioner remote problems and their solutions

Now that we have some basic understanding of how an air conditioner remote works. Let’s take a look at the most common issues and how to resolve them.

  1. Are you close enough to the air con unit?
    Whether you’re a regular air con user or this is your first time, distance is important. If you find that when you press the power button, nothing happens, then you may not be close enough to the unit.
    Solution: Walk closer to the unit and try again. If it still does not work, then check for any objects or furniture that may be blocking the infrared pulses from reaching your unit.
  2. Dirt or grime
    Over time, appliances can gather dust and grime. The same goes for your air conditioning unit and the remote. If there is dirt, dust, or grime on either of them, this may prevent the remote-control signals from reaching the unit.
    Solution: Simply clean the sensors with a moist clean cloth.
  3. Battery life
    If you’re close enough to the unit and the sensors are clean on both the remote and the air con system, but the unit still does not startup, then it’s likely that batteries may be coming to the end of their life cycle.
    Solution: Remove the batteries from the remote and replace them with new ones.
  4.  The Polarity of the batteries
    So, you’ve just inserted new batteries into the AC remote but find that it still doesn’t seem to be working. It may be likely that the batteries have been inserted the wrong way.
    Solution: Slide off the cover and remove the batteries to check the polarity. If you’re not sure what is meant by the polarity, these are the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ symbols embossed where the batteries sit. These symbols indicate which way to insert the batteries. If placed incorrectly, the device will not work. While you’re at it, check to ensure the battery chamber is clean of any dust and grime.
  5. The sensor
    If you’re remote has had several falls to the ground or somehow the dog got to it, the LED light may likely have detached and may be the reason your remote is not working.
    Solution: If this is the case, you can try to use an infrared sensor card to check if your remote control sends out a signal. If there is no response, then it’s highly likely the LED is broken.
    In which case, you can either replace it with a new one or look into having it repaired.
  6. Moisture
    If you accidentally spill a drink or a glass of water on the same surface your AC remote is sitting on, and it gets wet. Or you may have touched it with wet hands. Whatever it may be, the remote can get damaged due to exposure to moisture.
    Solution: Remove the remote from the source of moisture immediately and dry it. If only exposed to a little moisture, you may be able to wipe the remote down with a dry cloth and not worry. However, in cases where it has been exposed to a lot of moisture, such as large spills, you may need to use alternate methods of drying. A suggestion includes drying with a hairdryer on low heat, after removing the batteries and then setting it aside in a warm, dry environment for a few days. Once fully dry, you can reassemble the device and see if it works. If not, you may have to replace it.
  7. Operator error
    We’ve all been guilty of not reading the user manual and diving straight into using a device without fully understanding all its functions. And the air con remote is no exception. Therefore, it’s no surprise that pressing the wrong buttons can cause problems.
    Solution: Grab that user manual and get reading. Reading the air conditioner user manual is a great way to familiarise yourself with all that your air conditioning system is capable of, how to use it properly, and what buttons are for what functions. Another benefit of referring to the user manual is that you will discover all the nifty little tips and tricks to use your air conditioner to its full potential.

When to call the experts

You’ve gone through the list of every possible fault and tried everything, yet your remote still isn’t working. It may be time to speak to the experts, as the issue may be with your air conditioning system. No matter the issue, Peninsula Air conditioning is here to help. Whether it’s time for a service or repair, we’ll provide a tailored solution to suit your requirements.

How much will it cost to replace my air con remote?

Universal Air conditioner remotes are widely available. Prices ranging from as little as $20 to highs of over $100 for a more specialised, brand-specific remote to suit all budgets.

The price you pay will depend upon your budget, where you purchase it from and the brand. If you are looking for a quality product that will do the job well and last, you’ll likely be purchasing at a higher price point.

At Peninsula Air Conditioning, your faulty (but not damaged) remotes are covered as part of your air conditioner warranty.

Where can I buy an air conditioning remote control from?

As mentioned, there are hundreds of universal AC remotes available. You just need to find one that will work with your system. You can pick up one at your local homeware and electrical store or purchase it online at Amazon, eBay or

Some stockists include:

If you get a universal air conditioner remote that works with your system, you may require a code to program it manually by following the instructions that come with your remote.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for genuine Daikin remote controls, why not check out our online shop. If you can’t find the one you are looking for, let us know and we can probably get it for you.

Branded vs universal air conditioner remotes

When replacing a remote control, we recommend investing in a brand model rather than a generic alternative. Universal remotes may give you the essential functions but are unlikely to offer the full range of features.

What if the air conditioner still doesn’t work?

If you’ve tried a new remote and that still doesn’t do the trick, it may be time to perform a reboot to reset the system. You can do this by turning it off at the main power and leaving it off for about 30 minutes.

If the problem persists once you have turned the power on again, we recommend you book a service so a technician can run a diagnostic check of the system. We may discover that the board inside the indoor unit needs replacing.

Let us help you

Sometimes two heads are better than one. If you find that you’ve tried every trick in the book and yet your air conditioning system is not responding, or you have a question about your existing or new remote, whatever the query our team is here to help you.

Give us a call on 1300 889 309 to book a free onsite inspection and receive an obligation-free quote.

Why should I choose Peninsula Air Conditioning?

Peninsula Air Conditioning is a family-owned business; therefore, we understand how important it is to keep the family comfortably happy. With that in mind, we provide tailored services and solutions to suit the needs of both you and your family so that you may all live in comfort.

With Peninsula Air Conditioning, you can also benefit from:

  • We’re locally owned and operated.
  • We provide reliable and high-quality products.
  • We work with and provide top-quality materials.
  • We are a Daikin specialist dealer.
  • You will always receive prompt service from our friendly team.
  • We are fully licensed and insured.
  • For us, no job is too big or too small.
  • We are a government-approved supplier.
  • You can rest assured that qualified licensed personnel will perform all electrical connections.

To discover what more you can benefit from by choosing Peninsula Air Conditioning, visit our page why choose us.  Serving Bronte, Point Piper and all of Eastern Sydney.

Call: 1300 889 309


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