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Breaker box in the garage.

When you purchase a home it is important to know the location of all electrical shut-offs. If an emergency were to occur, you would want to have access to the breaker controls to shut them off before any major damage occurs. Essentially, knowing where and how to turn off the breaker switch is important. Which breaker controls HVAC? You should see a well labeled circuit breaker that identifies which breaker is for HVAC.

Let’s read below for some more ways to identify which breaker is for your HVAC.

Where Can I Find My Breaker Controls

Believe it or not, the location of a breaker box is almost always in the garage. All of your electrical wirings are typically run up the walls and across your ceiling and then back down into the breaker box in the garage. Your breaker panels are located inside a metal box that also contains a panel cover and your circuit breakers. The circuit breakers are mechanical switches that will trip into the off position if the electric current is larger than it should be.

When circuit breakers are tripped they can simply be reset back into the on position. You will typically see two sizes of circuit breakers in the breaker box. Single pole and a double pole breaker. Just like fuses, the size of the breaker unit determines the voltage that it can handle.

What Are My Breaker Types

Typically there are two types of circuit breakers in your breaker box. You will see a single breaker that maintains 120 volts or you will see a double breaker that can maintain 240 volts. The larger appliances and electrical equipment will be housed on a double lever breaker for 240 volts. Like your air conditioning and heating system, some other appliances that feed off double lever breakers are your clothes dryer, water heater, and stove.

Double breaker for more volts and amps.
Standard double breaker for larger electronic systems in the home.

How Would I Know

In this case, there are two ways that you could notice a breaker switch for your HVAC system. The breaker switches will either be located in a breaker box in your garage or outside near the unit in a smaller metal box. Most of the time, there are multiple breaker switches. Inside the home you have an air handler unit. This unit is supplied electricity in order to operate. The air handler will have a double lever breaker switch in the garage breaker box. The outdoor unit of the home will also have a breaker lever or light switch that you can cut power to the air conditioner if you needed.

This switch or lever is located in a small metal box that is affixed to the exterior of the home, right beside the unit. If for some reason you are attempting to locate the breaker and you aren’t sure if you selected the correct one, you can use the thermostat. Selecting the fan settings on the cooling system or selecting the heating option with the thermostat will quickly determine if power is still connected to the unit. If either setting kicks on then you selected the wrong breaker switch. If you are simply looking to have a new thermostat wired, reach out to a professional HVAC contractor to assist.

Other Recommended Maintenance

Now that you understand where your breaker switches are located for your HVAC unit, you can conduct business as usual. Essentially, study up on when and how often you should have your HVAC system maintained. In the long run, this will save you time and money.

Next, make sure that you have a pretty good idea as to how old your HVAC system is. Knowing how old your system is and understanding how long an HVAC system can last is key to planning ahead. Homeowners rarely save money for large expensive purchases. Once the HVAC system goes bad, you could be looking at an expense in the thousands. Replacing the inside and outside HVAC system can cost well over $5,000. Always remember to save for a rainy day.

Lastly, it is a great idea to gain an understanding of how your HVAC system works. Getting to know what is happening to your AC unit is important. If something happens to the AC unit, like freezing up, you will want to know why this is happening. Also, keep in mind that every problem has a solution, so knowing what’s happening allows you to fix the problem.

External HVAC system with its own breaker plug mounted on the home.
External AC unit with breaker box mounted on the home.

When Do I Call A Professional

Anytime you are dealing with an issue regarding your HVAC system you need to call a professional. It is never a good idea to start messing with the electrical components of your HVAC system. Also, calling on a professional will ensure that whatever the issue is can be managed correctly. If you aren’t sure who to call, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can refer you to a reputable HVAC system company.


Making sure that you have your HVAC system maintained regularly is vital to its longevity. The longer you go without getting the HVAC system maintained the more likely you will end up with a damaged part or possible system replacement. If you aren’t sure where the breaker switch is located for your HVAC system, call on your local home inspection team.

They can come out and explain where your breaker switch is located and conduct a full inspection of your HVAC system and home. Having this done all at once could save you time and money. Call Waypoint Property Inspection to inspect your home in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, and surrounding areas.