Help! My Air Conditioner Breaker Keeps Tripping
Are you trying to figure out why your air conditioner breaker keeps tripping? Your AC circuit breaker is an electrical system failsafe. When it trips, it's doing exactly what it's supposed to by protecting the overall system from the damaging effects of an overload.
First, do not continuously reset your AC circuit breaker! Now, you may want to isolate the origin of the issues. After that, you can establish whether it's an issue that you can address yourself or requires the attention of an HVAC repairman.
Learn more about dealing with an air conditioning unit that continuously gives you trouble and when to call in a professional AC technician.
What To Do When your AC Keeps Tripping the Breaker: Step 1
To begin diagnosing your system's problem, follow these steps:
- Turn off whichever AC system keeps causing the circuit breaker trips (including its thermostat functions)
- At the tripped panel, turn back on the tripped circuit.
- You want to wait at least 30 minutes with the AC off! It's essential to ensure any thermostat-controlled systems on the AC are also turned to the off position, so the internal systems within the system are not triggered.
- After waiting for a period that exceeds at least 30 minutes, turn the system back on.
It Continues to Operate Without Tripping the Circuit Breaker
That's great news! The AC tripping issue that led to the power surge was most likely a rogue issue that won't necessarily be repeated. Problems like these are primarily out of your control and external to the household, such as lightning. If the circuit breaker doesn't trip again, it has successfully performed its function, and you can continue enjoying your cool home without worries.
Also Check Out: Is It Safe To Run My Air Conditioner During a Thunderstorm?
It Works for a While, Then Trips Again
There is still hope that you can still safely address this issue yourself. Try replacing your air conditioner's air filter. A dirty air filter can cause the entire AC system keeps tripping the breaker, leading the unit to draw more power than is safe. This leads to a power overload and a circuit breaker trip. An AC air filter can usually be easily replaced by its owner. Check your system's instruction manual on how to complete that process.
It Immediately Trips Again
If the AC immediately trips the circuit breaker again, the problem has been successfully isolated to your outside AC unit. It is now the time to call in a professional air conditioner repair company to deal with many possible issues why your AC keeps tripping the breaker. Continue reading to learn more about those potential issues.
Why Your AC Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
There are several reasons your system is having this problem, including:
- A condenser coil is covered in dirt, debris, and grime.
- A physical component of your AC's electrical system could be loose or damaged.
- The AC's fan motor has issues that could lead to a power overload.
- An evaporator coil may not be releasing heat as it should.
- Damaged lines that cause a refrigerant leak.
- The AC compressor failed.
Learn more about these problems and how you can identify them, so you know what to tell an HVAC technician when they arrive.
Dirty Condenser Coils
Have you noticed your air conditioner hasn't been cooling your home as well as when you first had it installed? This might be tied to why your AC system keeps tripping the breaker. If you've noticed a gradual decrease in your air conditioner's functionality, the issue is most likely dirty condenser coils.
The condenser coil's function is to create a way to release heat gathered by the AC, expelling it outside of your building. It's located in the part of the outdoor unit of your household. Due to its location, the coil can become covered with dirt and other debris from natural elements. When this occurs, the system must work harder to maintain performance.
An overworked system will attempt to draw more power and be the reason why your AC system keeps tripping the breaker. Neglecting to have necessary regular maintenance done is likely why your AC keeps tripping the breaker.
For the reasons concerning high voltage stated above, a professional is required to address this issue.
Failure of an Electrical Component
An electrical component failure within your unit is a catchall phrase referring to many possible scenarios that could be the reason why your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping. Electrical wiring could have become frayed, too much power was sent to the unit, or an electrical short may have cut its function.
Pinpointing why your AC system keeps tripping the breaker requires specific electrical tools and can be dangerous to perform independently. However, identifying the problem could save you from the costly decision to replace the entire system.
You must reach out to a professional to perform this high-level assessment of your air conditioner's electrical system due to its complex nature and potential risks.
The Motor for Your Air Conditioner's Fan Has Malfunctioned
Moreover, the same elements that may have affected your condenser coil can also put pressure on your air conditioner fan's motor. The result leads to your AC system fan not spinning as we are common to seeing.
When any part of an electrical system has to work harder to overcome obstacles, it will draw too much electricity to remain proficient in its function. This could be the reason your air conditioner tripping the breaker.
As you know by now, this tendency to draw more power than is safe will lead to your circuit breaker to trip to safeguard the entire household's electrical system. This diagnosis with your AC blower motor for why your AC keeps tripping the breaker often comes with a repair that requires a professional to address because of the fan's proximity to high voltage components.
The Air Conditioner Evaporator Coils are Frozen
Have you noticed ice on your air conditioning system coils? This could be the reason your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping.
If you've neglected to have annual or biannual maintenance done on your air conditioner system, debris may have caused there to be reduced airflow in your system. This can lead to the freezing of the evaporator. Again, the system attempts to compensate for these obstacles by drawing more power. Your home's circuit breaker will trip to safeguard the entire system.
Also Check Out: AC System Freezing Up: How You Can Fix It The First Try
Older systems whose owners have neglected to perform maintenance may have developed leaks in refrigerant lines. This corrosion is part of the natural wear and tear that comes with time.
Over time, the level of the refrigerant fluid will drop, and you will notice a decline in your air conditioner unit's performance. Your air conditioner circuit breaker keeps tripping because it's attempting to overcompensate, leading to the circuit breaker trip.
Your grounded compressor failing is the most catastrophic of the potential issues, causing your air conditioner to keep tripping the circuit breaker.
Not only could this be the reason your air conditioner's circuit breaker keeps tripping, but a compressor's failure often results in a need for unit replacement because of its overall importance to the entire air conditioning unit's function. Again, this is an issue that can be extremely dangerous for untrained individuals to attempt to repair.
A Safety Warning
All these potential causes for why your AC breaker trips require a trained professional HVAC contractor specializing in air conditioners or a certified electrician. All the repairs to these individual elements of the AC involve high voltage and can be dangerous undertakings.
Don't attempt to address any of these issues relating to why your ac system keeps tripping the breaker yourself, as this can be highly unsafe. Please get in touch with an HVAC professional.
However, as a responsible owner of an AC unit, you should seek to know more about why your air conditioner system keeps tripping the breaker. According to FEMA, twenty-four thousand residential electrical fires are reported yearly in the United States alone.
Some of the issues that are the exact reason your AC is repeatedly tripping the breaker could also lead to a fire that could have been prevented with annual or biannual maintenance by a professional.
The Importance of Regular Maintenance
If your AC system keeps tripping the breaker, it's likely related to an overdraw of power. If the problem doesn't fix itself after the 30-minute reset and air filter swap, it's time to reach out to a professional HVAC technician.
Breakers trip from time to time, and a one time power surge can cause excess power to shut off everything in a home. A bad circuit breaker or a cooling system that pulls more electricity than is required is not only bad for your home, but a real safety risk.
The good news is that many of these common problems can be avoided with regular AC system maintenance. If you never want to deal with an AC system and a tripping breaker, reaching out to a professional AC tech to have a look is still a great idea.
This may save you money in the long run and help further ensure your household's safety from dangerous consequences.
Need AC Repairs Now? Call ARS/Rescue Rooter
If your outdoor unit is not running properly, call the professional heating and air conditioning experts at ARS/Rescue Rooter for dependable air conditioner repair service. Our Comfort Specialists will assess your system and provide you a detailed plan to restoring comfort to your home.