Why Does My Air Conditioner Keep Tripping a Circuit Breaker

Air conditioners bring much-needed comfort into our lives by cooling our days and nights whenever it’s hot outside, especially during the summer months. However, they can occasionally trip circuit breakers. When this happens, homeowners are often confused as to why. If this is an issue you’ve been experiencing, the following are some of the many common reasons why this may be happening.

An Overloaded Circuit

One of the most common reasons why your air conditioner may be tripping your circuit breaker is simply due to an overloaded circuit. Air conditioners use a significant amount of electrical power, so they sometimes require dedicated circuits if you’re always using other electrical devices that also require a lot of power. If a circuit already has multiple electrical devices running off it simultaneously and you then turn on your AC, this can cause the breaker to trip.

Clogged Air Filters

If your filters haven’t been inspected and changed in a while, they may be clogged or dirty, which can hamper airflow and cause your air conditioner to work much harder. This, in turn, pulls more electrical power from the circuit, which can overload it and lead to a tripped breaker. Regular maintenance and replacement of filters can usually help you avoid this issue when they’re the cause.

Failing Capacitors

Capacitors are important components of AC units because they help cool the air by ensuring that the units are starting and functioning normally. If a capacitor suffers from wear and tear or becomes faulty in any way, it can easily cause issues with the circuit breaker. In some cases, an improper capacitor can also cause a tripped breaker, which is why a professional with knowledge of specific air conditioner models is the only person who should repair or replace a capacitor.

Low Refrigerant Levels

If the refrigerant levels in your air conditioner are running low and aren’t enough to keep cooling the air smoothly, it can cause the AC unit to overheat, which leads to a spike in the electrical current. To protect the circuit and wiring, a breaker trip may then occur. It’s, therefore, crucial that you have a skilled technician check the unit for any leaks or other issues that might be causing low refrigerant levels.

Compressor Problems

Your air conditioner’s compressor is one of the most vital components of its operation, but sometimes it fails for various reasons. This can cause an electrical overload, followed by a tripped breaker. Common reasons for failure include motor issues, clogged coils, and even manufacturing flaws. If your air conditioner has been working overtime because of extreme temperatures, this too can cause the compressor to fail.

Faulty Electrical Wiring

In many cases, electrical wiring issues are the culprits behind circuit breaker trips, and they can also be a serious fire hazard. Short circuits, grounding issues, loose wiring, damaged wires, and improper installation are all common reasons why your air conditioner might have wiring issues. Some pests, such as rats, can also cause problems by chewing through wires.

Blocked Condenser Coils

The condenser coils, found on the outside of your air conditioning unit, can cause overheating issues when they become blocked. These coils need proper airflow to dissipate heat. This can then draw more electrical power to the AC unit, and a tripped circuit breaker is often the result. Dirt and other debris can end up trapped within these coils, so it’s crucial that the area around the unit outside is kept clear and away from anything that might cause a blockage.

Other Component Issues

Less commonly, other components inside an air conditioner can be faulty or become affected over time by simple wear and tear. The blower fan wheel, temperature sensors, control board, pressure switches, and both the condensate drain pan and drain line can all cause problems for a circuit breaker when they fail, as each of these components can lead to excess power consumption and overheating.

Stop Circuit Breaker Trips Today

Regardless of the issues your air conditioner may be experiencing, rest assured, we’re here to help. Our highly knowledgeable technicians can diagnose the problem and have your AC back to functioning normally in no time. We offer a complete line of HVAC services, indoor air quality solutions, and electrical services to residents in Springfield and the surrounding areas. Contact Jco Heating A/C Electrical to find out more about the services we offer.