How To Fix It

Why A/C Breaker Keeps Tripping?

It’s frustrating when the A/C breaker keeps tripping, especially amid the summer heat. In occasional cases of a power surge, it is normal. However, when it’s a recurring issue, you must identify the causes and consider the best solutions. 

An A/C breaker that keeps tripping can result from dirty air and condenser coils, insufficient refrigerant, loose wires, a broken compressor, a frozen system, and a problematic fan. The issue can also be the circuit breaker itself. 

Read on, and we’ll list some of the most common reasons an A/C breaker keeps tripping. We’ll not just discuss the culprits, but we’ll also explore potential fixes. 

1. Dirty Air Filter

The air filter is one of the most crucial components in an A/C. It removes contaminants like pollen, dust, and grease to ensure better air quality. Over time, however, it traps dirt. It doesn’t only restrict airflow, but it can also cause the A/C breaker to trip consistently. 

When dirt builds up on the filter, it needs to work more to heat a room. Because of this, it can be prone to overheating. Plus, it will need to draw more power, and when such happens, tripping the breaker is possible. 

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Read: How Do You Know If You Have Poor Indoor Air Quality?

How To Fix?

Proper maintenance is an excellent preventive measure. Check the filters regularly. Change them when necessary. Otherwise, you can clean them to optimize functionality. It will not only prevent the breaker from tripping but also help you save electricity. 

Do you need help with how to clean an air filter? Watch the short video below and find out how to do it.

Read: HVAC Inspection – How Often? What To Expect? Cost?

2. Not Enough Refrigerant

The refrigerant is an essential component of an A/C system. It cycles through the A/C, changing from liquid to gas. Additionally, it absorbs and releases heat in the process, helping to cool a room. If the A/C refrigerant isn’t enough, the motor must work harder to draw more power.

Because it becomes more demanding in terms of power consumption, the demand might surpass the cut-off point of the breaker. In turn, this is what will make it trip. 

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How To Fix?

The best way to deal with the issue is to replace the refrigerant. However, this is not one thing you can treat as a DIY task. The Clean Air Act states that licensed and experienced professionals must handle it. Only certified technicians are allowed to purchase refrigerants. 

Read: Where Is The Reset Button On The Air-Conditioning Unit?

3. Loose Wiring 

You might not realize it when looking at the A/C inside a room, but it’s a system with multiple wires. If you look at the outside unit, you’ll find these wires. At times, they can loosen, especially if animals are around the area or after a disaster. Old age can also be a factor. It might trip the breaker. 

How To Fix?

If you’re A/C has loose wiring, we suggest working with an HVAC professional. It’s best if it can be checked by someone with the proper knowledge and tools. They can determine the exact wires causing the problem and repair them safely. Plus, they can ensure that the cables connect to the right components. 

Read: What Happens If An Air Conditioner Is Not Used For Months?

4. Faulty AC Compressor

Two things can happen to the compressor, making the breaker trip. First, it can have difficulty starting and running, which is often a result of aging. Second, the compressor might also be grounded. In both instances, the compressor can be the culprit of tripping the A/C breaker. 

How To Fix?

Compressors are complicated systems that are often best left in the hand of the pros. Replacing them can be expensive. The work can also include cleaning the refrigerant lines, which only licensed professionals can handle. Buying a new A/C instead may be a better option. 

Read: Can You Use Multiple Ecobee Thermostats In The Same House?

5. Frozen System 

A frozen A/C system can also be why the breaker keeps tripping. It happens when the temperature is higher than what’s normal. To add, a wet filter or a compressor covered in ice can also be the reason. As a result, the A/C draws more electricity, which results in tripping. 

How To Fix?

Don’t use your A/C when it’s frozen. It will destroy the compressor, which is an expensive component to repair and replace. Instead, wait until the problem subsides. Otherwise, it’s best to call a licensed technician to help repair the root cause, which can be a refrigerant leak. 

6. Problematic Fan 

The fan pulls cool air and delivers it to the condenser coil or compressor, which is crucial for cooling. At times, the fan may not work. Hence, the compressor and refrigerant do not cool down. The motor needs to work harder. Because it pulls more electricity, it’s likelier to trip the A/C breaker. 

How To Fix?

Dust and debris might coat the fan, which can make them inefficient. They will also slow down cooling. Thorough cleaning might spare them from further damage. Nonetheless, it might need repair or replacement if the fan motor malfunctions. It is a complex DIY task, so it requires professional servicing. 

7. Dirty Condenser Coils 

The condenser coil is a system of several tubes with refrigerant. It works with the evaporator coil to deliver the cooling effect of an A/C. As you neglect maintenance, dirt builds up in the condenser coil. It can no longer disperse heat. It can overheat, and in turn, the breaker will trip. 

How To Fix?

Dirt in the outdoor unit can build up and damage the condenser coils. Keeping them in good condition is possible by cleaning the area regularly. You must clean plants and weeds and vacuum loose debris. Using the right spray to clean the condenser coils can also help. 

8. Capacitor Malfunction 

Before tripping, if you notice that the unit already had a hard time turning on, the capacitor can be the problem. The capacitor provides the initial push the motor needs to work. However, it can also be prone to overloading and, in turn, can trip the breaker. It might also overheat, especially in the summer. 

How To Fix 

In most instances, the best solution is to change the capacitor. While you can buy such a component, replacing it isn’t easy. It would be best to look for an HVAC technician with the knowledge and skills to replace the capacitor. It can cause electric shock, so caution is a must. 

9. Circuit Breaker Issues 

Lastly, the problem may not be the A/C. Instead, it could be the breaker. It can suffer from wear and tear. For instance, the wires can loosen over time, affecting functionality. Some of the signs it’s broken include the following: 

  • Not staying in reset mode 
  • Hot to the touch 
  • Burning smell 
  • Flickering light
  • Old age 

How To Fix?

Testing the circuit breaker is the first step. Before doing so, make sure to unplug all connected electronics. Test using a multimeter. If you see a voltage reading of zero, it means that it is no longer working as it should. A circuit breaker replacement is necessary, but such requires a professional to make the repair. 

In Closing 

Don’t panic if you’re A/C breaker keeps tripping. Instead, find out the culprit. The most common problems include dirty components, such as the air filter and condenser coil. More so, it can be a result of the malfunction of the components, including the fan, capacitor, compressor, and even the breaker itself.