What If Your Air Conditioner Trips Your Circuit Breaker?

March 10, 2019

In Kansas we rely heavily on our air conditioners in the due to the state’s hot, humid spring and summer seasons. From time to time, problems arise in air conditioning units that cause them to overload a house’s circuit breaker.

If your air conditioning unit is tripping your circuit breaker, the first thing to remember is don’t turn it back on. Your circuit breaker’s job is to protect your home by shutting down the flow of electricity when it gets too high. There are a variety of possible causes for the circuit breaker to be tripped, but it could be due to overheating.

If your A/C is overheating, it’s drawing more amps than the circuit was meant to handle and will trip the breaker after the A/C has been running. Here are some possible reasons why your unit might be overheating:

A/C Refrigerant level too low: Refrigerant is the chemical solution that enables the air conditioner to keep the air in your house cool. If the refrigerant is running low in your unit, it will not produce cool air and force the unit to overheat trying to cool the house. The low level of refrigerant might be due to a leak in your lines as well.

Dirty A/C condenser coils: Your A/C condenser coils are located in the outside unit and their function is to disperse the heat that refrigerant has taken in from your home. Dirt, leaves and other debris can sometimes accumulate on the coils and prevent them from functioning properly, causing the air conditioner to overheat.

Condenser coil fan problems: The condenser coil fan is responsible for cooling your outside A/C unit’s condenser coils. If the fan malfunctions, the coils won’t be cooled and the unit will overheat and trip the circuit breaker.

Dirty A/C air filter: Dust can also collect on your A/C’s air filter. If the filter hasn’t been changed in a while, it can cause the unit to work harder to cool the house and eventually overheat.

There are some other common problems your A/C might be experiencing as well. These issues have to do with electrical problems in the unit that are causing the breaker to trip.

Loose electrical connections: If the electrical connections on your outside unit have come loose, usually through expansion and contraction due to contact with the weather, your breaker will likely trip. Tightening the connections is required if this is the problem.

Electrical short: Another reason the breaker might trip is due to an electrical short somewhere in the system. When a short is present, the breaker will trip immediately. If this happens, it’s best not to reset the breaker and call for service.

Bad capacitor or compressor: The capacitor is responsible for starting the compressor and both parts will need replacing from time to time. You can tell if the capacitor has gone bad when the air conditioner has trouble starting before the circuit trips. The compressor could trip the breaker when it has trouble starting. It could be old and in need of replacing.

Some other common issues that can cause your air conditioner to trip the breaker would be:

  • Mechanical issue causing an amp surge
  • Loose or bad breaker
  • Under-sized breaker or wire

If your breaker is tripped in your Kansas home from running your air conditioning unit this summer, contact the professionals at Reddi HVAC for immediate service. We’re here to help.