Tripped Breaker When Running AC?

tripped breaker

Reasons Why This Happens

On a hot summer day, the last thing you need is your AC to keep shutting off from a tripped breaker. There are several reasons why your air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker. The AC circuit breaker is a safety switch that protects your equipment from damage or fire by shutting it off when an overload is detected. The main reason why your AC is drawing in more amps is because something is causing it to overwork and operate inefficiently. So, if you have a tripped breaker when running AC, it is not a situation you want to ignore. It is also important not to keep resetting the breaker. The best option would be to contact a professional to prevent the possibility of a potentially dangerous and expensive consequence. Read below to find out why your AC keeps tripping your breaker.

Dirty Air Filter

A dirty air filter clogged with dust and debris will restrict airflow causing your ac unit to work harder to circulate air through the vents. The AC will need to run longer in order to meet the set temperature on your thermostat, therefore drawing more electricity and tripping the breaker. This will also lead your unit to overheat and put unnecessary extra strain on the individual components. The solution: replace the air filter and check it often especially during the summer and do not neglect annual routine AC maintenance.

Low Refrigerant

Similar to when your system is running with a dirty, clogged air filter an ac running with low refrigerant will work longer to cool your home. An older system especially when routine maintenance has been neglected, can develop holes overtime leading to refrigerant leaks. As the refrigerant levels decrease the system will work harder and run longer to meet the desired temperature. If you notice a decline in your system’s performance, contact a professional who can repair any refrigerant leaks and properly charge your system.

Dirty Condenser Coil

Your AC unit is made up of two components the indoor and outdoor unit. The outside unit is responsible for dispersing heat. If the outdoor unit, the condenser is dirty then it will not be able to disperse the heat causing your AC to work harder to cool and possibly draw too much power leading to a tripped breaker. Condenser coil cleaning is completed during routine maintenance, if maintenance has been neglected it is time to contact a trained professional and schedule.

Shorted Motor

Motors in your AC can run for hours and if they are left running for extended periods of time, the wire insulation can break down leading to an electrical short. A short is when electricity bypasses its usual route, which allows for more electricity to flow than wires can handle. This can lead to a fire, but before this occurs the circuit breaker trips. Contact a professional who can determine where the short is located.

Compressor Has a Hard Time Starting Up

As your air conditioning system gets older, so does the compressor and it has a hard time starting and pulls more electricity than normal leading to a tripped breaker. Call a professional who can install a hard start kit which will provide an extra electrical jolt to get your compressor running. However, keep in mind that if the compressor is too old or damaged it will need to be replaced instead.

Grounded Compressor

A grounded compressor is when one of the electrical windings inside the compressor broke and hit the side of the compressor. This causes a short to the ground, igniting the oil and causing a burnout which will leak to a tripping breaker. If this occurs the compressor needs to be replaced. If the compressor is out of warranty, it is best to replace the entire condenser.

Older Components

As your system ages the wiring inside will start to loosen. A loose connection, a failed capacitor or a short in the wiring could lead to a tripped breaker. In fact, a power surge that could lead to a tripping breaker could also be from wiring in the breaker itself being loose. Contact a trained professional who can assess connections and complete the electrical repair.

Frozen Evaporator Coil

If routine maintenance has been neglected it can lead to a frozen evaporator coil which draws excess power and lead to a tripped breaker. If you notice ice on the coils, turn your unit off and contact a professional right away to prevent further damage to your compressor.

Contact LA Construction, Heating and Air

A lot of the issues mentioned above can be prevented by routine AC maintenance. Keep in mind, that aside from replacing your ac filters, most issues that lead to a tripped breaker must be handled by a professional. Give us a call today at 818-341-3406 or contact us online, we are here to help you!

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