GE Air Conditioner Beeps But Doesn’t Turn On

You turn on your GE air conditioner and hear the usual beep, but none of the other components power up. You turn it off and on several times, hoping to restart the system, but nothing happens. It can be very frustrating when this happens, so we looked up plausible reasons why, and here's what we found.

A GE air conditioner that beeps but doesn't turn on means there's a problem with the electronic control board. It's possible to repair it but only by a highly trained air conditioner technician.

As you read on, you'll learn what GE air conditioner beeps mean and whether it's normal or a sign of a defective component. We'll also cover basic troubleshooting methods and when it's time to call a technician.

And old styled air conditioner on the wall - GE Air Conditioner Beeps But Doesn't Turn On

Why Is My Air Conditioner Beeping?

Technician - Engineer investigate Repairing Air Conditioner

It's normal for a GE air conditioner to make a beeping sound upon startup and on several functions, and it's a good sign that your unit has power. Here's what the beeping means:

One Beep

  • The power cord is connected, and the unit is receiving electricity. The LED lights on the display panel should turn on, and the '88' sign should appear for two seconds.
  • You will hear one beep after a power interruption as the unit restarts to restore power. Likewise, the LED lights on the display should turn on, and the '88' sign should flash.
  • You will hear one beep when you press a button on the control panel or the remote.

NOTE: The '88' display feature of most GE air conditioners show the temperature and hours when setting the timer.

Two Beeps

  • A button on the control panel or the remote was pressed and failed to work.

Continuous Beep

  • A continuous beep indicates a problem with one or multiple components, including the electronic control board, compressor, fan motor, or capacitor.

Beeping is normal in GE air conditioners, but if you hear other types of sounds like banging or chirping, you should check out these other articles:

Air Conditioner Makes a Banging Sound When It Turns On – What’s That?

Why Is My Air Conditioner Making Chirping Noises?

Reasons Why An Air Conditioner Beeps But Doesn't Turn On

Several scenarios can play out here. First, you turn on the unit, and hear a beep, but the system doesn't power up. The second scenario is that you turn on the unit, and it beeps, but the system powers up for a few seconds but then dies down completely. There are several reasons this happens with your GE air conditioner:

A Defective Control Board

The most common reason is a faulty main control board. You can find the control board in the front area of the unit. It is the brain that controls the mechanisms and functions.

And old styled air conditioner on the wall.

When the air conditioner beeps or lights up for a few seconds during startup, the unit is receiving power. But when the fan, compressor, and the rest of the components don't turn on, the board fails to communicate instructions to the other components. This is a sign of a faulty control board.

One likely cause is that the microchips of the control board were exposed to moisture. Although manufacturers put a clear protective coat over the wires and chips, the coat can get corroded because of moisture and changes in temperature.

The control board not having a protective coat or an easily corroded protective coat is one of the most common complaints we have found online in GE units. It is important to maintain proper airflow in the unit to prevent this from happening.

Not Getting Enough Power

Before you place your final verdict on the control board, it's important to ensure the unit is getting power. Here's how you can check:

  1. Make sure the switch is turned 'ON'
  2. Make sure the unit is plugged in
  3. Set the thermostat settings to your desired temperature and mode of function
  4. Check if the outlet is working by plugging another appliance into it
  5. If the power cord has a circuit interrupter safety feature, press the test and reset button

Circuit interrupter devices, or ground fault interrupters (GCI), are used for electrical safety. It is a fast-acting device programmed to shut off electricity in case of a ground fault.

Check out this OAONAN Circuit Interruptor on Amazon!

Dirty Filters

cleen out dust from air conditioner filter

An air conditioner not turning on could mean that the system is overheated, and one of the main reasons is a clogged filter. It restricts airflow, which affects the compressor. Clean and replace the filters and see if it solves the problem.

Basic Troubleshooting: What You Can Do

You can do basic troubleshooting that can help resolve minor issues. Problems are likely to show if the unit does not receive regular maintenance. See if these quick fixes can help restore function in your unit.

Reset The Air Conditioner

Resetting an air conditioner usually resolves minor electrical and internal issues. It is a way for the 'confused' system to go back to its default setting. There are two ways to reset an air conditioner:

  • Power off completely - Try to turn off the air conditioning unit, then unplug it. You can also go to your circuit breaker and flip the switch off for a few minutes before turning it back on. Wait five to ten minutes before plugging and turning the unit back on.
  • Do a hard reset - Most modern air conditioners have a reset button at the bottom edge. The button is small and typically red. If you can't find it, consult the unit's user manual.

Power down your unit through the thermostat controls and turn the air conditioner unit off. Press the reset button and hold it down for five seconds. Let a few minutes pass before turning it back on to let the internal systems restart. 

NOTE: Most window-type air conditioners don't have a reset button, so if that's the case, do option number one and power off by unplugging.

Check The Power

Repairman Checks Voltage on Geothermal HVAC System

One reason your air conditioner is not turning on is the low power supply. The standard requirement for air conditioning units is between 208 to 240 volts.

If you have a voltmeter, you can check if the unit is getting the right voltage. A voltmeter is an instrument that measures the voltage of an electrical circuit. 

Check out this Digital Voltmeter Tester on Amazon!

Check For Error Codes

If the unit beeps and the control panel lights up, check to see if it shows an error code in the 88 display. Knowing the meaning of the codes should help you determine what is wrong with the unit.

There are dozens of error codes, and if you see one but are unsure about what it means, you can contact GE's customer service and ask for more information.

Check The Warranty

If your air conditioner unit is less than a year old, it may still be under GE warranty, and they should replace it with a brand new, working unit. According to their policy, they will replace any parts, and all labor related to service costs will be free of charge.

Reset The Home Circuit Breakers

If the problem is a tripped breaker, resetting the breaker can easily resolve this issue. Flip the switch and turn it off and back on without unplugging the unit.

Clean Or Replace The Filters

Aircondition service and maintenance, fixing AC unit and cleaning the filters.

Air conditioner filters need cleaning every two weeks depending on how dusty or polluted the air environment is. If the filter is reusable, a power washer or a simple washing using a soft cloth, soap, and water will be enough to remove the dust and debris. For non-reusable filters, change them according to the manufacturer's recommendation.

When To Call An Air Conditioner Repair Service?

When basic troubleshooting doesn't work, it's best to call an air conditioner repair specialist to diagnose the problem. Choose a local repair service with excellent reviews, accredited, has certified technicians, and has years of expertise specializing in cooling systems.

It's important to know what's wrong with your air conditioning unit before calling professional technicians. This way, you can make better-informed decisions about replacing and buying new components or replacing the unit entirely.

Male technician fixing air conditioner indoors


If your GE air conditioner beeps but won't turn on, it's best to have a technician diagnose the problem. Most likely, the problem is in the control board. If you are using another brand of air conditioner that's not turning on, check if the answers could be in these other articles:

Rheem AC Not Turning On – What To Do?

Trane Air Conditioner Not Turning On – What To Do?

Goodman Air Conditioner Not Turning On – What To Do?

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