AC remote not working? 7 handy troubleshooting tips

Most air conditioners come with an infrared remote to let you adjust the settings. They allow you to adjust the temperature, fan speed, and other settings from across the room. Like any other equipment, AC remote control can experience problems and stop working. If the buttons aren’t working like they used to, or if the AC is simply not responding to the remote control, there are a few things you can try before calling in a repair person. In most cases, it’s an easy fix with some basic maintenance and battery adjustments that we’ll cover in this blog. 

Before we move on if you’re tired of playing hide and seek with your AC remote and looking for a replacement, having a smart AC controller can be a lifesaver. It allows you to control your remote-controlled mini-split, window, and portable AC from anywhere, using your phone. Besides the basic features, it also provides several smart features, such as daily/weekly scheduling, location-based controls, energy usage tracking, smart home integration and much more to take your home climate control to the next level. 

K 1028E Univerval AC Remote
K-1028E Universal AC Remote

How to Fix Your AC Remote 

Here are the top 7 ways you can troubleshoot your AC remote issues. While you are fixing your remote, you can use a desk fan to keep yourself cool and comfortable. 

1. Check the Batteries

While it may seem obvious, one of the most common reasons AC remotes stop working is that the batteries are too old and have run out of charge. If your remote has suddenly stopped working, try replacing the batteries. That’ll fix the problem the vast majority of the time. 

Duracell AA Battery
Duracell AA Battery

2. Check the Polarity of the Batteries

If you’ve tried replacing the batteries and your AC remote is still not working, make sure you installed them correctly. When you slide off the remote control cover, you will see ‘+’ and ‘-’ signs embossed inside the battery compartment. These signs indicate how the batteries should be installed. The batteries also have ‘+’ and ‘-’ signs on each end. Match the sign on the battery with the sign inside the battery compartment. Press the batteries firmly inside the compartment to ensure the battery is touching the metal contacts. Slide the cover back on and try using the remote again. 

3. Clean the Battery Contacts

If you have verified that the batteries are installed correctly, but the remote still isn’t working, there might be dirt and buildup preventing the remote control from working. Take out the batteries and inspect the metal contacts. If you see any dirt or grime on them, take a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol and gently clean them. Furthermore, also try cleaning the ends of the batteries with isopropyl alcohol. Let them dry, and reinsert the batteries. Try using the remote again.

4. Move Closer to the Unit and Remove Any Obstructions

If your AC remote still doesn’t work, you might be too far from your HVAC system. Because air conditioner remotes communicate with the AC unit using infrared rays, a large distance or any obstructions can interfere with the signal. Move closer so that you’re less than 20 feet away from the AC unit. Point the remote directly towards the AC and make sure there aren’t any obstructions, such as furniture or lamps, in your path.  

Also, check the sensor on the remote. It is installed at the tip of the remote, and it should be able to properly communicate with the sensor on your AC unit. If the sensors are not clean, the dirt can obstruct the signal.  Clean the sensors using a moist cloth piece and try again.

5. Reset the Remote

Another quick fix, if your AC remote is not working, is to reset the remote. Many AC remotes come with a small button labeled reset. Press it for 3-5 seconds, and the remote should automatically reset. If your remote does not have a small button, it might have a small hole somewhere with ‘reset’ written above it. Insert a paperclip into it and press for at least 10 seconds. 

If your remote does not have a small button or hole, you can reset it by removing the batteries for at least fifteen minutes and then reinserting them. 

6. Replace Your Remote if the Sensor Is Damaged

One of the reasons your AC remote is not working is that you may have accidentally damaged the sensor. If you recently dropped your remote control, the sensor may have been damaged and separated from other internal components. If that’s the case, your remote control can no longer communicate with the HVAC unit. To check whether the infrared sensor is broken, use an infrared sensor card. If the IR sensor card does not respond to the remote control commands, it is damaged and needs to be replaced or repaired. 

7. Reboot the System

If none of the tips given above work, there is a possibility that the problem is actually with the air conditioner itself rather than the remote. Try rebooting the system by turning off the main power. Let it stay off for at least 30 minutes, then switch the power back on. If that doesn’t solve the problem either, there’s a possibility that the IR receiver inside the air conditioner is not working. The IR receiver receives the infrared signals from the remote and acts accordingly. If you suspect it’s malfunctioning, you need to book a technician who will diagnose the problem and replace the IR receiver if needed. 


If your AC remote is not working, there are a few things you can try to troubleshoot the issue. First, check the batteries. If they are low or need to be replaced, that could be the problem. Another possibility is that something is obstructing the signal between the remote and the AC unit. If you have ruled out these other possibilities, you may need to reset your AC unit. Consult the user manual for specific instructions on how to do this. With these handy troubleshooting tips, your remote should be as good as new in no time!

Avatar of Steve
About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve. I've worked for the past 8 years in a major furniture retailer in the UK, so I know my way around a desk or two. On the weekends, I spend time with my kids or I'm probably outside in the garden doing something or other!

Leave a Comment


How to recover data from flash drives [answered 2023]

How to stop siri notifications on airpods