Top Reasons Your A/C is Tripping the Breaker

Top Reasons Your A/C is Tripping the BreakerIf your home’s A/C quits unexpectedly, check its breaker in your main electrical panel to see if it has tripped. An air conditioner that’s tripping the breaker should be dealt with immediately, because breakers are essential electrical safety devices that are meant to trip when a circuit is overloaded to prevent a possible fire.

What can Make an Air Conditioner Trip the Breaker?

There are two issues that can make an A/C breaker trip, and you can determine which one is the cause just by touching the tripped breaker:

  • If the tripped breaker is hot to the touch, don’t attempt to flip it back on because it’s likely faulty and needs replacing, so call an electrician for help.
  • If it doesn’t feel any hotter than the breakers on either side, it’s more likely that an issue with the equipment caused an amp draw spike, which overloaded the circuit.

Reasons Why Equipment Might Trip the A/C Breaker

One possible reason for a tripped breaker is easily checked out — airflow restrictions caused by an excessively dirty air filter. If it’s clogged, put in a new filter then reset the A/C breaker. If it trips again right away, leave it be and call your HVAC contractor to investigate other possible causes within the system, such as:

  • Low coolant level. A drop in the refrigerant level makes the A/C work harder, which can raise its amp draw and trip the breaker.
  • Leaking compressor valves. Compensating for leaking valves puts extra strain on the compressor as it pressurizes refrigerant, so it draws more amps and the circuit overloads.
  • Faulty capacitor. When the A/C has to attempt to cycle on repeatedly due to a bad capacitor, it’s likely to overload the circuit and trip the breaker when it finally starts up.
  • Condenser fan issues. If the fan isn’t working properly, it won’t cool the condenser coil effectively. That added strain on the A/C makes it draw extra amps, which makes the breaker trip.

If the A/C is tripping the breaker in your Middletown home, contact us at C.R. Wolfe Heating & Air Conditioning for expert help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Middletown, New York about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about circuit breakers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 845-367-4482.

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