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Why Has Your A/C Tripped the Circuit Breaker?

  • July 26, 2015

During an especially hot day in the Aberdeen area, it's not uncommon for an air conditioner to trip the breaker, especially as it starts. In most cases, it's not a sign of a problem but a reaction to the increased load on the system, and simply resetting the breaker will get it working again. But if your A/C is tripping the circuit breaker frequently, it may indicate a serious system problem.

Dirty Air Filter or Condenser Coils

circuit breaker

Before calling in the professionals when your A/C is tripping the circuit breaker, check the air filter. A clogged or dirty filter can impede airflow in the system, making it work harder than it needs to and tripping the breaker due to the extra power draw. During the cooling season, the filter should be checked monthly and replaced as necessary.

If the air filter is relatively clean, check the condenser coils. Twigs, leaves and other debris caught in the coils can decrease airflow over the condenser and cause the compressor to overheat. With the power off, remove large debris from the coils and rinse them clean with a garden hose.

Electrical Problems

Undersized wires, loose connections or faulty wiring can also cause the breaker to trip. If you suspect wiring problems or if the breaker is damaged, malfunctioning or excessively hot, have an electrician inspect your electrical system for problems.

Major System Problems

If the coils and filter are clean, the A/C itself may be malfunctioning. Sometimes it can be a simple fix, like replacing a system fan or installing a new start capacitor, which evens out the electrical load as the compressor starts. Other times it can be a more serious problem, such as a refrigerant leak or a failed compressor. Have an HVAC professional inspect the system to determine the cause.

If your A/C is tripping the circuit breaker, check out the air conditioner repair services at Comfort Services, Inc., or call 866-357-4613.

Image via Flickr by dejayres