The last thing you want on a sweltering summer day is to have your air conditioner keep turning off because the circuit breaker keeps tripping. Your home’s circuit breaker is a safety measure that protects against damage from overloaded circuits, which could cause a fire. Your AC constantly tripping your circuit breaker means that it’s pulling in too many amps than the breaker was designed for.
This is a problem that you definitely need to address before it gets worse. Don’t just keep resetting the circuit breaker. You need to take action immediately in order to prevent further damage and potentially dangerous situations.
What To Do
The first thing you should do if you’ve noticed a problem with your AC circuit breaker is to make sure there really is a problem. If there was a recent storm or power outage, the circuit breaker might’ve been tripped in a one-time power surge.
However, if the problem has happened more than once, it’s likely an issue with your AC system. You might be able to simply reset your air conditioner’s internal circuit breaker. Take the following steps to do so:
- Turn the AC system OFF (on the thermostats)
- Reset the AC circuit breaker switch in your electrical panel to ON
- Wait 30 minutes with the air conditioner OFF
- Set your air conditioner back to COOL
If everything works as it should after this reset, you’re good to go! However, if the AC circuit breaker immediately trips again, or if it won’t turn on at all, you likely have a problem that needs to be looked at by a professional. If the AC system works for a little while before turning back off, there might be something you can do to fix it.
Call Your Trusted Toronto HVAC Professional
Your air conditioning system is a large investment, one you don’t want to risk by accidentally breaking something even further in an attempt to fix it yourself. While there are many maintenance tasks that are easily accomplished by homeowners, an electrical issue is something best left to an AC technician with the knowledge, skills, and qualifications to handle it.
If you’re unsure of what the cause might be, the best way to ensure peace of mind is to contact your local HVAC technician for AC repair. A certified technician will be able to walk you through any possibilities, help you troubleshoot, and determine if the issue is something minor that you can fix yourself, or if it will need to be professionally serviced.
8 Reasons Your Central Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping the Breaker
1. Dirty Condenser Coils
If you’ve been neglecting your yearly AC unit maintenance, you might’ve noticed that your home isn’t as cool as it should be. Dirty condenser coils might be the issue, and luckily it’s one with an easy fix.
When your condenser coils get dirty, they lose their ability to disperse heat. This can lead to the air conditioner overheating, which may be the cause of tripping the circuit breaker.
Dirty coils are usually caused by a buildup of dust and debris on the outdoor unit. Make sure you’re doing your yearly cleaning—and scheduling regular tune-ups—to keep the condenser coils in good condition.
2. Dirty Air Filter
Dirty filters may cause your air conditioner to trip the circuit breaker. Reduced airflow means the fan motor must work harder and longer to draw air through the filter. This can draw too much electricity, causing the air conditioning unit to overheat and resulting in an electrical short.
If you’ve noticed puddles of water around your outside AC unit, it might indicate restricted air circulation, which might be the cause for why your breaker keeps tripping. The easiest fix for this is to change the dirty air filter. Air filters should be cleaned and changed regularly, depending on how often you use your AC.
3. Old Air Conditioner
Nothing lasts forever, and your air conditioner is no exception. If your system is over 10 years old, it’s probably nearing the end of its useful life. The time will come when the cost of extensive repairs to keep an older unit running is more than it would cost to replace it with a new AC unit.
Older units will show signs of failure before they break for good. If the air conditioner’s circuit breaker tripping is only one of many issues you’re seeing, it’s time to consider replacing your unit.
4. Faulty Fan
Your AC system uses fans to help move air around, blowing over the coils to release the heat from your inside unit. If the motors that run these fans are damaged or dirty, your AC system will be using more energy, which might be the cause of your AC breaker trips.
If the fan blades are coated in dust and debris and slowing down the fan, a thorough cleaning might be enough to fix the problem. However, if the motor that runs the fan is malfunctioning, an AC technician will have to replace the motor.
5. Frozen Evaporator Coils
When maintenance is neglected, problems start to build up. Eventually, airflow is reduced, which causes the AC evaporator coils to freeze up. If you’ve had issues with your AC tripping the breaker, and if you see ice on the coils of your AC unit, it’s best to keep the system shut off and call in a professional. Keeping it running might result in compressor failure, which is a much worse problem to have.
6. Compressor Issues
Compressor failure is a serious issue that may require a whole new system. As the heart of the air conditioning system, your compressor pulls in lots of power when it starts up. As a compressor ages, it will have trouble starting, which pulls in even more power and can result in circuit breaker trips.
If you have a grounded compressor, that means electrical wiring inside the compressor has broken and is touching the side. This causes a direct short to ground, and usually, this will ignite the oil, causing a burnout. A faulty compressor means you’ll have to replace the AC unit altogether.
7. Refrigerant Leaks
If you have an older AC unit (especially one that hasn’t had regular maintenance), corrosion can develop on the coils. This can lead to cracks and holes in the refrigerant lines, which will cause a refrigerant leak. When the refrigerant pressure drops, air conditioners have to work harder to cool your space. As a result, the unit will draw too much power and cause breaker trips.
8. Loose Wiring
There are plenty of wires connected in both the outdoor and indoor unit of your air conditioner that keep things running. Any of these wires might become loose or lose their connection, and this can cause a short circuit, resulting in a tripping breaker.
Wiring issues are best left to an AC tech. They can re-wire any faulty circuits and replace a bad circuit breaker.
Expert AC Repair by Husky in Toronto/Vaughan
Many of the problems that cause an air conditioner circuit breaker to trip can be prevented with regular care and maintenance. Before it gets to the point of costly repairs or replacements, make sure you have a qualified technician service your system once or twice a year (depending on your usage).
If you’re currently experiencing issues with your AC circuit breaker, give Husky a call for a free AC repair quote. The best thing you can do to give yourself peace of mind and extend the life of your investment is to get professional repair services before a small issue turns into a major one!