9 Reasons Why Your AC Keeps Tripping The Circuit Breaker

If you’ve ever experienced the frustrating situation of your air conditioner repeatedly tripping the breaker, you’re not alone. A tripped breaker can leave you feeling uncomfortable in hot weather and wondering why this keeps happening.

The air conditioner tripping the breaker is a common issue homeowners face, and it can have several potential causes. Understanding the reasons behind this problem is crucial for troubleshooting and resolving the issue effectively.

Why Is Your AC Tripping Your Circuit Breaker?

You could have an overloaded breaker causing your circuit breaker to trip every time your air conditioning turns on. Alternatively, the problem could be a more serious one, such as a broken motor or faulty compressor.

Why Is Your AC Tripping Your Circuit Breaker

You may need to contact a professional if your AC is tripping the breaker. It is possible that this could be happening for many reasons, each of which requires a different kind of remedy.

It might be time to get an ac pro out to tune up your unit if you notice your climate control system is tripping the breaker when it’s too hot outside.

Circuit breakers can trip because air conditioners are not getting enough electricity from the AC circuit breaker, or your home’s wiring may be flawed.

What could cause your air conditioning system to trip your circuit breaker? Let’s look at some likely causes. Keep your family cool and safe this summer by finding the cause of the problem and trusting a professional to complete the repair!

1. Compressor Is Grounded

Compressor Is Grounded

“Grounded compressor” or “compressor short to ground” occurs when an electrical winding inside the compressor has broken and hit the side of the compressor.

Resulting in a direct short to ground, igniting the oil and causing burnout. Because of the sudden surge in current, the circuit breaker trips.

We are dealing with the worst-case scenario here. An AC tech will need to replace the compressor and clean the refrigerant lines.

Your compressor may not have been covered by warranty, so you might as well replace the entire outdoor unit if it is out of warranty. So, it’s cheaper. A compressor can cost a lot of money.

2. Loose Wiring & Aging A/C Parts

You have a complex maze of wires running through your air conditioning system. Your circuit breaker may trip from time to time if these wires get loose and lose their connection. 

AC pros fix this problem by rewiring your circuit and replacing the metal plate surrounding all the wires. If you purchase one separately, the AC Pro can provide you with a new one or get one brand new from them at a reasonable price!

3. The Compressor Is “Hard Starting”

The Compressor Is "Hard Starting

Compressors can have trouble starting if they get old, so keeping them in top condition is essential. Having an HVAC technician check your fan and circuit might be the answer if the circuit breaker keeps tripping.

Any time your AC doesn’t turn on within one second that could be a sign that your compressor is malfunctioning.

You should reach out to a professional for assistance if your compressor has a problem starting. You may need to replace the compressor and clean the refrigerator lines to make sure no particulates are in them to cause problems in the future.

4. Motor Has Shorted

AC motors can run for hours upon hours and take quite a bit of abuse. An electrical short may occur if a motor runs hot for too long, causing the insulation to break down.

The “short” in electricity is where electricity takes a “shortcut” from its typical path. This shortcut allows a more significant amount of electricity to flow than the wires can handle, causing the wires to overheat, melt, and catch fire.

Circuit breakers trip before a fire happens, of course. You should call an AC repair technician to determine the source of the shortage.

5. Broken Coil Fan

Broken Coil Fan

For cooling, air conditioning units use fans inside, which are called “coil” fans, which are powered by motors outside. Using the inside unit fan, heat is released from the coils.

This could result in increased energy usage and earlier coil fan failure if the motors are damaged through wear and tear over time or if they were damaged during construction nearby.

When your air conditioner fan motor tripped the breaker because it was not getting enough power, you may have a broken coil fan. 

When an air conditioning unit has broken, or missing parts, higher electricity usage and breaker trips can result.

If you want to fix this problem, you must hire an HVAC professional who knows how to replace or repair the coils on air conditioners!

6. Dirty Condenser Coils

Dirty Condenser Coils

Dirty condenser coils make it impossible to distribute heat from inside the house to the outdoor unit. It can result in an electrical short and overheating of the air conditioning system.

The A/C unit requires more electrical current to cool your house even when it’s running, resulting in a short circuit.

In your outdoor unit, dirt, dust, or plant life can build up and cause dirty coils. Taking the time to clean these coils will help you to avoid these problems in the future!

You should have your AC pro come and perform regular tune-ups on your unit to prevent dirty condenser coils. For your home to stay cool during this summer, it is crucial to have your air conditioning system tuned up at least once a year.

A professional AC technician will also know how often coils should be cleaned or replaced. In some cases, cleaning occurs only after the unit no longer works correctly, whereas, in others, it may take as little as an annual cleaning.

7. A Dirty Air Filter

When the weather gets too hot outside, your air conditioner may trip the breaker because the filter is dirty. When filters are dirty, they can reduce airflow and cause AC units to overheat, resulting in breaker trips.

The lower temperatures also make it more difficult for air conditioners to perform efficiently, so you might not notice your house is cooler than it used to be.

You should clean your air filter every few months, depending on how often you use your air conditioning system and where you live (it may need more cleaning if there are many allergens or plants nearby).

Whenever dealing with electrical wiring like this, it’s best to call in an HVAC technician who knows exactly what they’re doing. Property and personal safety could be at risk if someone with HVAC training is not dealt with appropriately.

8. Dirty Outside Unit

There are two separate units in your air conditioner. Using refrigerant, the inside unit absorbs all of the heat from the air in your home. As a result, the refrigerant flows to the outside unit to disperse heat.

Nevertheless, dirty outside units cannot adequately disperse heat because dirt acts as an insulator. As the AC runs in an attempt to evacuate the heat, the breaker trips because too much current is being drawn.

It is important that an AC technician properly cleans the outside unit. It may seem silly to you to clean it yourself, but that’s precisely what you are supposed to do, right?

Sadly, you do not have the proper cleaning equipment and chemicals to professionally clean the condenser coil. When it comes to purchasing condenser equipment, choosing the wrong one can be disastrous.

It’s also possible that improper cleaning could damage or flatten the fins around the coil. If this is the situation, the coil will not be able to flow over the coil, and just as bad as having dirt matted to it.

9. Issues With The Circuit Breaker

A breaker may be to blame, not the air conditioner itself. If the breaker is too loose, it may need to be replaced, or the wires connected may be broken.

It is a relatively inexpensive fix. Replacing the breaker or tightening connections to the AC’s breaker may be necessary.

Final Words

A breaker usually trips when an air conditioner pulls more amps than the breaker can handle. If you have a 20-amp breaker and your AC pulls 30 amps, the breaker trips.

Those are the reasons breakers trip: to protect you from overcurrent that could damage or ignite equipment.

Be sure to DON’T keep resetting the breaker and letting it trip repeatedly. Excessive tripping can cause equipment to malfunction and may even cause a fire. It is important to determine the cause of the problem first.

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