Consider this scenario: you are relaxing in your living room with a book on a hot summer weekend as your house is excellent as you like it, suddenly your air conditioner trips and shuts off.
You turn the power back on, thinking it’s just a power fluctuation. However, the trip occurs again. Now you are concerned that something is wrong with the air conditioner.
If your air conditioner circuit breaker keeps tripping repeatedly, there is a problem that should never be ignored. There could be several reasons for this. Read on to learn why AC breaker keeps tripping.
AC Circuit Breaker
Circuit breakers are essential safety devices. Your AC is protected from damage caused by overloads and short circuits due to this filter. Electricity is cut off when too much current flows through electrical wiring, and the circuit breaker must be reset once the problem has been resolved. In addition to providing your safety, AC circuit breakers protect you from fire as heavy current flows can cause a fire.
8 Reasons Why AC Breaker Keeps Tripping?
It can be due to loose wiring or dirty condenser coils; there are many possible reasons why an AC circuit breaker trips. Let’s take a closer look at them below:
1. Capacitor failure
If you have a bad capacitor, your air conditioner may be having trouble starting before the circuit breaker trips. The capacitor is a significant part of your HVAC system and is responsible for providing initial power to the motor.
As a result of motor malfunctions, the capacitor overheats, resulting in your air conditioner tripping. Moreover, power fluctuations may lead to capacitor failure as well.
Overheating of your AC capacitor can also cause failure. It is hard for your air conditioner to cool down your home during hot summer days. The capacitor can overheat in the process. If your capacitor is overheated, your air conditioner will use more power. It can happen, especially if your outdoor unit is installed in an area exposed to direct sunlight. You should immediately contact a technician to repair the capacitor.
2. Unstable wiring
The wiring inside an air conditioner can loosen overtime when it ages and is nearing the end of its life. There may be a loose wiring issue or electrical problems within the unit that cause the circuit breaker to trip repeatedly. The wires can also become loose as the weather changes due to contractions and expansions.
To solve this problem, you can contact your electrician, and they will tighten the loose connections.
3. Filthy Condenser Coils
If you don’t perform regular air conditioner maintenance, your condenser coils can become dirty and cause internal issues for your unit.
It may be because the coils are filled with dust and grime that your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping. You can sometimes accumulate dust, leaves, and debris on your coils, mainly if the unit is not covered.
The condenser coils are responsible for the captured heat to be released outside. Nonetheless, when they are dirty, they cannot function properly, which causes your unit to draw too much power. When this happens, your air conditioner overheats and trips the breaker.
The good news is that this can be prevented with a simple cleaning. It is recommended to clean your AC coils every two months, but this can vary depending on your usage.
4. Circuit breaker failure
Your air conditioner’s circuit breaker may keep repeatedly tripping because of the breaker itself.
Circuit breakers can become defective over time because of wear and tear. There is a possibility that the wires connecting it to the motherboard can be loose, causing it to malfunction. There are times when the capacitor inside the AC circuit breaker will fail and cause problems.
To resolve this issue, replace the capacitor. You can contact your technician to have it replaced quickly.
5. Filters are clogged with debris.
Your AC removes indoor air pollutants using its air filters. When you don’t clean them, they become clogged, decreasing airflow. As a result, your system takes longer to reach the temperature you set, making your house less comfortable. During this scenario, the unit is under a lot of stress, overheating and tripping the circuit breaker.
The air filters should be cleaned regularly to maintain their health and functionality. In addition to preventing dangerous issues, it prevents air conditioners from tripping the circuit breaker. If your unit has been in operation for 250 hours or more, clean its filter every time.
Consider using a smart thermostat or an intelligent HVAC controller (for mini-splits, window AC, or portable AC) if you tend to forget to clean your filter. Smart devices allow you to set a reminder for when the next cleaning is due.
6. Issues with fan motors
A faulty motor may be tripping your air conditioner circuit breaker. You might not realize that your fan motor needs to be cleaned for proper operation. You can stress out the motor of your AC when the fan blades are covered in dirt.
A thorough cleaning can resolve this problem, but if you are unsure how to clean the blades, it’s best to leave this to a professional.
Additionally, over time and with repeated usage, the insulation in the motor can break down. This exposes exposed wiring, which results in a short circuit. When the wires can’t handle the current flowing through them, your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker.
7. Low levels of refrigerant
Leaks caused by cracks and holes on the evaporator coils cause refrigerant levels to fall. It is a cooling substance, and when it runs low, your system cannot remove heat from your home. Lack of maintenance or an old unit can cause corrosion to cause the coils to crack over time. Refrigerants can leak through these cracks over time, resulting in low refrigerant levels.
In the absence of adequate refrigerant, your system draws too much power, tripping your circuit breaker.
8. Failed compressor
A compressor is an integral part of your air conditioning system that assists in cooling. A compressor can last for quite a while. However, it is possible to neglect maintenance, resulting in an early compressor failure.
A faulty compressor can have trouble starting, which causes it to draw more power than necessary. Overheating and drawing more electricity are also potential problems. You can also trip your AC circuit breaker if there is a power surge.
Please avoid repeatedly turning on and off the circuit breaker, as mentioned above. This is a bad idea for your system and can damage the compressor.
An average compressor repair or replacement can cost around $1200, so getting a professional inspection is strongly recommended.
It’s better to choose a home warranty for your HVAC since it’s an expensive replacement. In most cases, the policy can cover the heavy expenses provided that your lack of maintenance does not cause the damage.