Why Does My AC Keep Tripping The Circuit Breaker? Explained
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Does Your AC Keep Tripping The Circuit Breaker? Here Are Eight Situations That Could Be Causing The Issue.

Circuit Breaker Image

It’s safe to say that nobody wants their A/C to shut off in the summer – especially when it’s 90 degrees on a Friday and you just got home from work. However, this does happen. And it could be because your A/C tripped the circuit breaker. But what could be causing your A/C to trip the circuit breaker? 

Let’s Chat About That!

For starters, your A/C will cause the breaker to trip if your A/C’s compressor or your furnace’s blower draws more amps than what the circuit is rated for. And it’s important to note that an air conditioning system that is constantly tripping your circuit breaker could concoct a recipe for disaster – putting you, your family, and your home at risk.

That’s Great, But What Could Cause My A/C To Draw More Amps than what My Circuit Breaker is Rated For?

Unfortunately, quite a few things may trigger this. However, the first thing to do is to shut off your thermostat and reset the breaker. If you turn everything back on and your A/C runs perfectly, and you don’t experience another trip, you typically have nothing to be concerned with. Nevertheless, it’s best to contact a licensed professional to be sure.

We cannot stress this enough. If your A/C trips your circuit breaker again after you reset your breaker, do not attempt to reset it again. You must call a professional HVAC technician to diagnose the issue and handle the repair. With that said, here is a list of common reasons your A/C could be tripping your circuit breaker.   

  • Dirty or Clogged Air Filter

Dirty and clogged air filter that needs to be changed

Just like breathing, if an obstruction hinders airflow to our lungs, it forces an individual to work harder to breathe. Your HVAC system is no different. A dirty or clogged air filter can restrict airflow, causing your furnace and a/c to work harder. When this happens, more power is used and could potentially overload the system, causing your breaker to trip. So, it’s best practice to change your filter regularly.

  • Unclean Condenser Coils

Although this may seem minor, this is a rather significant part of your A/C. The Condenser coil is located in the A/C unit behind a casing and works to help remove the heat from the refrigerant. If the coil is dirty, it can’t effectively remove the heat from the refrigerant. This can cause the A/C to overheat and trip the circuit breaker. For this reason, it is best practice to have your condenser coil professionally cleaned once a year.

  • Loose or Damaged Wiring

In some cases, the wiring in your A/C could be loose or damaged from faulty wiring, heavy storms, and sometimes, power surges. Loose or damaged wiring can short-circuit the unit tripping the circuit breaker. Luckily you can catch this before it becomes an issue by having annual maintenance performed on your A/C.

  • Damaged or Jammed Condenser Fan

The condenser fan works to help pull the warm air from inside your home past the condenser coils. And if the fan is not spinning because a foreign object jammed the fan (stick or debris), this could cause a surge- ultimately tripping the circuit breaker.

  • Properly Sized AC Unit

If you have an improperly sized A/C unit, it may not be able to cool your home efficiently. This can lead to the unit working harder than it should and drawing more power, which can eventually trip the circuit breaker.

  • Faulty Circuit Breaker

In rare cases, your circuit breaker could be faulty. This could cause it to trip even without issues with your A/C.

  • Failing Compressor

As your A/C ages, so does your compressor. As the compressor ages, the performance tends to decrease over time, causing the unit to struggle and work harder. The increased wear and tear, coupled with the unit working harder, can cause the unit to draw more energy, tripping the circuit breaker. This is more likely to happen on extremely hot days when the A/C unit is forced to run longer. It’s important to note that the older your a/c gets, the increased likelihood of issues. That’s why if your unit is 12 years or older, you may want to look into replacing it – as the cost to keep it will be more expensive.

  • Compressor Short to Ground (Grounded Compressor)

By far, a compressor short to ground is the worst-case scenario. This is caused when the electrical winding inside the compressor breaks and hits the side of the compressor. When this happens, it causes a direct short to ground. At the same time, the circuit breaker trips due to the sudden surge in electricity. Unfortunately, there isn’t a fix for this, and it results in the A/C compressor needing to be replaced. The absolute worst case is that your entire A/C will need to be replaced.

It’s Not All Doom And Gloom

A service technician working on a condenser unit
Air conditioner maintenance is being performed.

Luckily, most of these issues can be prevented with a little TLC. By ensuring you’re regularly changing your filters and getting routine maintenance on your HVAC system from a professional HVAC company, you catch these issues before they become bigger ones. 

If you’re not on a routine maintenance plan or if you need someone to diagnose an issue with your HVAC system, give us a call at 517-258-1805 or check us out at www.hagerfox.com. If you haven’t checked out our Hager Fox Air Care membership. We invite you to check it out! With a whole host of benefits and features, it’s hard not to join this membership.


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