Hansberger Refrigeration Blog: Your AC Repair Resource

Why is Your Air Conditioner Tripping the Breaker?

Why is Your Air Conditioner Tripping the Breaker?If your air conditioner seems to be continuously tripping the breaker, you need to identify the reason and find a solution. One tripped breaker may be because of a power surge; if it happens again, you’ve likely got a problem that could result in damage to the equipment or to your electrical system. Breakers trip before your wiring cannot safely handle the load, so rather than risk fire or damage, you may need to call for professional help.

It does pay, however, to have some basic knowledge that will allow you to troubleshoot a tripping breaker. Here’s some information that can help:

Electrical Problems

Electrical problems may cause the breaker to trip. Unless you’re a licensed electrician, don’t try to fix these problems yourself.

  • Wires loosen over time due to expansion and contraction as the temperature changes.
  • Breakers do go bad. Signs of a bad breaker include: it feels hot to the touch, there’s a burning smell, wires may be frayed or there my be scorched/burnt areas around the breaker.

A/C Problems

Air conditioner malfunctions may also cause the breaker to trip when the equipment is working too hard and drawing too many amps. The reasons for this are varied, including these:

Dirty condenser coils. Refrigerant travels through these coils (located in the outdoor unit of the A/C), releasing heat as a fan sends air over them. When coils are dirty, the refrigerant won’t cool down properly and the A/C has to work harder.

Dirty air filter. A dirty air filter impedes air flow, making your unit run longer and work harder.

Low refrigerant level. Low refrigerant usually means there’s a leak. The A/C won’t cool properly with low refrigerant levels; it must run longer and work harder to reach temperature set points, and sometimes make your unit short cycle thus may trip the breaker. The leak should be fixed.

Malfunctioning capacitor. The Start capacitor helps to start the compressor. If it’s malfunctioning, the A/C may not start properly, then may trip the breaker.

If you’d like a better understanding of why the air conditioner might be tripping the breaker in your home, contact Hansberger Refrigeration and Electric Company of Yuma.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Yuma, Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about tripping the breaker and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 928-723-3183.