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Tripping Circuit Breaker Madness! Why Is the AC Doing This?

electrical-panel-repairsThe circuit breakers in your home’s electrical panel are designed to protect the electrical system from voltage overloads. If an appliance connected to the electrical system places too high a voltage demand on a circuit, often from a short, the breaker for that circuit trips to cut the connection.

One appliance in your house that may trip the breaker is the air conditioner. It’s one of the most powerful electrical devices in your household, so as soon as the motors in the AC begin to overheat or overwork, they’ll trip a breaker and shut down the cooling system. You might run into this now and then, and you’ll only need to reset the breaker to have your AC working once more. But if this is happening often, you may have a problem with your air conditioner that needs a technician’s attention.

The Basic Causes of an AC Tripping the Breakers

There are a number of reasons for the motors in an air conditioner to increase the voltage demand on the circuits. An AC has motors to power the indoor blower fan, the outdoor condenser fan, and the compressor. The motor for the compressor is the most powerful—as well as the one you don’t want to burn out if you can possibly help it, since replacing the compressor is expensive and usually a sign that the whole condenser must be replaced.

Here are the more common reasons for motors to trip a breaker.

  • Clogged air filter: This happens too often, and it’s easy to prevent. When the air filter protecting the interior of the AC is clogged up with dust and lint, it will force the blower fan to work harder, eventually causing it to overheat. We recommend you check on the filter once a month. It will need to be replaced every 1 to 3 months.
  • Loss of motor lubrication: A motor with too much friction on its parts will eventually overheat. If an AC has its annual maintenance neglected for too long, the motors will lose their lubricant and lead to this problem. (Yet another friendly reminder to schedule professional AC maintenance each year.)
  • Loss of refrigerant: An AC uses a set charge of refrigerant, but it can lose this vital chemical to leaks. When that happens, the pressure changes throughout the air conditioner will cause numerous problems—and a tripped circuit breaker is one of them.
  • Other electrical faults: This is a catch-all category for electrical shorts, corroded wiring, lose connections, and other electrical mishaps within an AC. The majority of air conditioning malfunctions are electrical in nature, and a tripped circuit breaker is an early warning of an electrical problem somewhere in the cooling system.

You can’t correct the majority of problems with an air conditioner that’s tripped circuit breakers on your own—and you shouldn’t try. Call the Rolesville, NC, air conditioning repair experts at Comfort Master when you’ve got tripping circuit breakers interfering with what should be relaxing summer days at home. You don’t want to risk an overheated and burnt out compressor!

Stop your AC from overheating: Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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