6 Reasons Why Your AC Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

June 3, 2021

6 Reasons Why Your AC Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

The last thing you need on a hot summer day is for your AC to trip the circuit breaker and shut off. Remember that your AC circuit breaker works as a safety switch that protects your electric appliances from damage by turning off when a power overload is detected. It is an important component of your air conditioning system as it prevents fire due to an overloaded circuit and keeps you safe. Therefore, you must not ignore any situation where your air conditioner circuit breaker trips repeatedly.

You must avoid resetting the breaker every time your AC trips – reset it only once. However, if the problem persists even after a reset, then your circuit breaker needs to be fixed. If your circuit breaker trips right after you turn on its air conditioner, then you cannot do anything to solve the issue yourself – call your local HVAC repair services immediately. If the problem has to do with a short circuit or faulty wiring then you must not attempt any repairs.

Read this blog to find out what problems can cause your AC to trip the circuit breaker.

Clogged Air Filter

You will find it hard to breathe after forcefully covering your face with a pillow. The same thing happens with your AC blower when its air filter is dirty. When the air filter of your air conditioner is clogged with dust, dirt, and debris, your air conditioner has to work harder to circulate air.

This means that your blower will have to work harder to draw more electricity and work longer to ensure proper cooling, causing the breaker to become hot and trip. The problem can be fixed by replacing the air filter at least once a month.

Dirty Condenser Coil

Your air conditioning system has two units: one installed indoors and the other present outside the building. The indoor unit uses a refrigerant to absorb heat from the air, and the outside unit receives the refrigerant to disperse the heat it carries. The outdoor unit has a condenser coil in it for this purpose.

Heavy windstorms can blow a lot of dirt and debris into your outdoor unit. This dirt acts as an insulator, making it difficult for the unit to disperse the heat and cool down the air inside effectively. So, your AC has to work harder, drawing too much current to disperse that heat outside until the circuit breaker trips.

Call your nearest air conditioner service provider to have your condenser coil and outdoors unit cleaned. Do not try to do it yourself as you lack proper cleaning equipment and chemicals, resulting in flattening the coil and causing further damage.

Shorted Motor

The electric motor in your air conditioner can run for long hours. However, a hot motor that runs for a long time can result in the breakdown of wire insulation called a ‘short.’ When this happens, more current passes through the wires than it can handle, causing overheating and melting of the wire, which can sometimes lead to a fire. This eventually causes the tripping of the circuit breaker.

A simple electrical issue can lead to a power surge that can affect your air conditioner’s circuit. Common causes of a short circuit include a failed capacitor, a loose connection, or a short in the wiring. Call an HVAC repair professional in case your circuit trips, do not attempt to solve the issue yourself as it can result in serious injury.

Aging Compressor

The compressor is the heart of your AC system and is located in its outdoor unit. As your compressor ages, it becomes weaker and has difficulty starting – called ‘hard starting’. When starting, it may try to pull more electricity than normal, which can trip the breaker. You can get a capacitor installed, known as a ‘hard start kit,’ to give the compressor extra electricity to get its motor moving. However, you must get an old and damaged compressor replaced as soon as possible.

Loose Electrical Connections

Wires expand and contract as the temperature changes, causing loose electrical connections inside your air conditioning system to result in a short circuit. Tightening the connections can solve this problem.

Refrigerant Leaks

An older AC system can develop corrosion on its coils, leading to cracks, holes, and refrigerant leakage. The same thing can happen if you ignore your air conditioner’s maintenance repeatedly. The decreasing refrigerant level of your system makes it run longer and work harder trying to cool your space. This causes the AC unit to draw more power than normal and trip the circuit breaker.

As you can see, almost all the problems mentioned above that lead to circuit breaker tripping can be solved by a regular maintenance check. A small investment in routine maintenance once or twice annually can help you avoid repeated repairs or replacement costs down the road. However, if the issues persist even after a repair or if the system is damaged beyond repair, you must get it replaced to avoid hazardous situations.

At Nor-Can Heating & Air, we provide 24/7 emergency HVAC services to ensure your heating and cooling system works properly throughout the year. Whether you’re building a new house or need to repair the heating or cooling system in your old house or office in Edmonton, contact us today for personalized service.


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