Why Is My Air Conditioner Tripping The Circuit Breaker

The last thing you need on a hot, humid Summer day is for your air conditioner to stop operating.

When the circuit breaker trips it stops all power supply to the ac unit.

This is to protect the air conditioner from any further damage and potentially costly repairs.

AC circuit breaker tripping: WHAT TO DO FIRST

Locate your home's electrical panel.

You should be able to see if the circuit breaker is tripped.

Reset the circuit breaker and turn your air conditioner on again.

The ac unit may start and operate normally. If the breaker trips immediately, there is definitely a problem in the electrical system. Call us to diagnose and rectify the problem.

It Works for a While, Then Trips Again

This can be extremely frustrating. After resetting the breaker, your ac unit starts operating again. After a period of time, the circuit breaker trips again and the ac system stops operating.

You will need to call for an ac technician to attend, diagnose and rectify the issue.

Possible reasons why your air conditioner is tripping the circuit breaker

Power Supply

At times, there may be a drop in the power supplied to your premises. This is called a brown out. Your lights will dim and appliances will not operate correctly.

This may be caused by transmission problems, an electrical storm with lightning in the area as well as high demand.

If you air conditioner is trying to operate in these conditions, the current draw will increase and lead to the circuit breaker tripping.

There may also be a one time power surge which can also trip the breaker.

If you have three phase power supply, the loss of one phase will cause the breaker to trip

There is nothing that can be done until the correct power supply is restored.

Once power is restored, reset your circuit breaker and your air conditioning unit should operate normally.

Faulty Circuit Breaker

As with any electrical item, your ac circuit breaker can fail at times.

This may be due to an internal fault with it or loose electrical wiring at the terminals.

You will need to call a professional hvac technician to identify and repair or replace the circuit breaker.

A Dirty Air Filter

Dirty air filters impede the flow of air over the coil in the inside unit. The lack of sufficient air flow will increase the pressure on the indoor fan and slow it down.

The pressure on the fan causes the motor current to increase which can trip the ac unit circuit breaker

It is important to ensure your air filters are kept clean to reduce nuisance trips of your circuit breaker.

Insufficient Refrigerant

If your ac system is low on refrigerant, it will not cool to the conditions you require. It can also cause other problems.

The indoor coil can ice up and restrict the air flow the same as dirty filter will do.

The compressor will run hotter which increases the electrical current draw until the circuit breaker trips.

Frozen evaporator coil

This can occur due to a dirty air filter, insufficient refrigerant or expansion device being faulty

As per the dirty filter above, this can also be the cause of ac breaker trips.

Dirty Condenser Coils

The condenser coils are located in the outdoor unit. Dirt and leaves can be drawn into the coil to reduce the air flow.

Stacking items against the outdoor unit will also impede the air flow.

If this coil is dirty or blocked this will increase the load on the compressor causing the breaker to trip and can lead to compressor failure.

Loose wire, short or electrical component failure

Occasionally, wiring may become loose in their terminals. Loose wiring can create heat and lack of correct power supply to the components in the ac unit. In a worst case scenario, it may even start a fire. This will cause excessive current draw and trip the circuit breaker.

A short can be caused when the wiring insulation in a fan motor or compressor breaks down. The exposed wire may touch the casing of the motor and create a "short". This will instantly trip the circuit breaker.

Most of the components in your air conditioning system are electrically powered. At times, these may fail due to age, vermin and other adverse conditions. Failure of these can also cause the ac circuit breaker switch to trip.

Faulty Fan Motors or Compressor

All motors consist of electrical windings. When operating, the motors do get warm and after some time the wiring may break down.

If the wiring breaks down it can cause an open circuit or a short circuit. This will cause a circuit breaker trip and stop your air conditioner from operating.

What Can You Do To Help Prevent A Tripping Breaker

If there is an electrical storm in your area, turn off your air conditioning system.

Make sure that your air filter is clean at all times

Make sure your condenser coils are clean and that no items are stacked up against the condenser.

The most important thing you can do is have your air conditioner serviced regularly. This can alleviate the potential for some the above issues to occur.

Contact us to book in for a service

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