You want your air conditioning to be reliable during the summer and expect it to work as much as you need. However, if your unit has a problem, it could trigger a circuit breaker, especially during heavy use. Tripping a circuit often means an electrical problem, but it could also indicate a problem with your air conditioner. Keep reading to learn more about why your air conditioner would trip a circuit and what to do if it does.
What Is a Circuit Breaker's Purpose?
A circuit breaker protects your home's electrical system from overload damage. Each breaker protects a circuit of electricity. Most homes have several circuits that are divided according to location and purpose. Some large appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, and central air conditioning units, may have their own dedicated circuit. If that circuit experiences a surge, short, or another anomaly, the breaker trips and cuts the electricity.
Why Would the Air Conditioner Trip a Breaker?
Generally, a tripped breaker is usually the result of an electrical problem. For example, a breaker may trip during a lightning storm or other type of sudden electrical surge. A bad circuit breaker could also trip itself.
However, air conditioners may trip a breaker when something is wrong with the unit. Below is a list of some ways an air conditioner could trip a breaker.
Frozen Evaporator Coil
Lack of maintenance can lead to poor airflow over the evaporator coils. As a result, your coils could freeze over. You will see ice build up on the outside of the coils. Frozen evaporator coils draw more electricity and could trip a breaker.
A worn compressor could draw excess electricity. Also, older compressors may have broken electric wiring inside that could cause shorts.
Dirty Condenser or Air Filter
A dirty condenser or air filter impedes air flow and causes the unit to work harder. The blower has to draw more electricity to keep air blowing through the unit.
What Should One Do if the Air Conditioner Trips a Breaker?
The first time the circuit trips, check if anything is visually wrong with your unit. If everything looks OK, you can try turning the breaker back on after waiting a short period. However, if the breaker trips again, stop using the unit and call an air conditioning technician. Don't try to force or override a breaker, as you could cause other problems.
A well-maintained and properly serviced air conditioner unit should not trip a circuit breaker. If your unit trips a breaker, and you don't have other electrical problems, contact an air conditioner repair company. Before the summer heat starts, have a technician check out your unit to ensure it is ready for heavy use.
Reach out to a local AC repair contractor to learn more.
My name is Maura, and I am certified in HVAC installation and repair. I have many clients who call me in a panic because they have turned on their air conditioners and nothing has happened. Your air conditioning technician will get to you as soon as possible, but there are some steps you can take while you are waiting. You might just find that you are able to fix the problem on your own, although you will still want to have a professional assess the situation. In this blog I will take you through some common reasons your air conditioner might not be working and show you some easy temporary solutions.