8 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Is Tripping the Circuit Breaker

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8 Reasons Why Your Air Conditioner Is Tripping the Circuit Breaker

Man adjusting the circuit breaker

If you make regular trips to the circuit breaker to flip the switch, you need to assess the situation. Your air conditioner could be tripping the breaker, and this is more than an inconvenience. It’s a sign of trouble within your AC or electrician system. With the help of a Hudson heating & cooling expert, you can identify the issue. 

Why You Shouldn’t Keep Resetting the Breaker

When appliances and home systems start showing warning signs, it’s easier to ignore them than fix them. After all, resetting a breaker doesn’t take much work. You head to your garage or basement and flip a switch. With such an easy fix, do you really need to bother calling a Hudson heating and air conditioning company?

As easy as it may be to switch your breaker, don’t ignore the problem. An AC shouldn’t regularly trip a breaker. If it does, there’s a serious issue. The circuit breaker is a safety switch that prevents your system from overloading. Because an overloaded circuit is a fire hazard, circuit breakers are essential to your safety.

In essence, a tripped circuit breaker is a call for help. It’s a sign of trouble and demands immediate attention. 

Causes of a Tripped Breaker

It’s easy enough to identify which appliance is causing the trip. As long as your electrical panel is labeled correctly, you should be able to identify what’s causing your breaker to trip. If you recognize your air conditioner as the cause, you have some investigating to do. 

All of the following are potential causes of a tripped circuit breaker:

1. Power Surge

If there’s a storm at the time of the incident, you don’t need to worry too much. The problem may not be on your end. Thunderstorms and high winds often result in power surges.

2. Clogged Air Filter

When an HVAC system has a dirty air filter, it needs a high amount of energy to function. For this reason, clogged filters can cause the system to trip the breaker. 

3. Dirty Condenser Coil

If you have a maintenance contract with your local HVAC company, you don’t need to worry about this tip. But for homeowners who forget to do their annual maintenance, a dirty condenser coil could be the source of their problem.

The condenser coil is on the exterior AC unit, where it’s exposed to the elements. Over time, it accumulates debris, dust, and more. The coil becomes unable to transfer heat well and makes your air conditioner work too hard to cool your home. 

In addition to noticing your breaker tripping, you might also experience warmer temperatures inside your home. If the AC doesn’t cool the way it used to, you probably need to schedule a professional to come out and clean your coil. 

4. Electrical Issue

An electrical issue with your air conditioner could also be to blame. Typically, a tripping circuit breaker is associated with a loose wire or electrical component failure. 

While this isn’t a fix the typical homeowner can diagnose, it won’t take an experienced technician long to determine the cause. More importantly, fixing a loose wire or replacing a component is An easy and inexpensive fix. 

5. Broken Fan Motor

If you peer into your exterior AC unit, you’ll notice fan blades. For your system to function, the blades need to spin rapidly. But a faulty motor prevents this from happening and could draw too much power. Until you replace or repair the motor, your system will continue to trip the breaker.

That said, it’s not always fair to blame the motor. If your fan blades are dirty, the motor needs to work harder to spin the blades. In this case, you can have a technician clean the blades. 

6. Frozen Evaporator Coil

If an AC system doesn’t have enough airflow, the evaporator coils freeze. This may pull extra power and trip your circuit breaker. You might notice ice on the coils, and that’s a sign of serious trouble. By the time ice forms on your coils, your AC is in disrepair. 

Rather than continue to run your AC, turn the unit off and schedule an emergency repair. Your compressor could only be a short time away from failing. If your compressor goes, you’ll be in for a costly repair. 

7. Refrigerant Leak

In an older system, a refrigerant leak could be the culprit for your tripping breaker. Corrosion on the coils causes cracks and holes, which allow refrigerants to leak out. 

When an AC doesn’t have an adequate amount of refrigerant, it can’t meet your cooling needs without working overtime. The power use may cause your circuit breaker to trip. 

 When you call out an HVAC technician, they look for refrigerant leaks. This is often a part of annual maintenance, so you may be able to learn about the leak before you experience a problem.

8. Failed Compressor

Have you ignored all the warning signs from your air conditioner? If so, you could have a compressor failure. This is the most important part of your AC and an expensive repair. 

In most cases, a failed compressor isn’t worth fixing. By the time a compressor fails, you would be better off with a new HVAC system. Your HVAC technician can inform you of your options and help you choose the best option.

Handling Your Hudson Heating & Cooling Issues

There are three ways of handling your tripping breaker. First, you can ignore the issue. This only puts off the inevitable and makes it more likely your system will completely fail you. 

Secondly, you can take matters into your own hands. Unfortunately, HVAC systems are complex machines and require extensive knowledge and training. Some of the repairs are also dangerous and come with a risk of shock. For your own safety, you shouldn’t attempt any AC repairs on your own. The exception is changing out your filters. 

The final option is the best option. When you start making a habit out of flipping the breaker, call a professional to fix your Hudson heating and cooling. Here at Stellar Techs Home Services, we’re ready to help you.