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Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Why Your AC Is Tripping the Circuit Breaker

electrical-schematic

When you set the thermostat for your air conditioning system to cool the house, you expect the AC to turn on and do its job. But what if the air conditioner does come on—but soon after, if not immediately, it shuts down? If you know the basic troubleshooting steps in this situation, you’ll go to the house’s electrical panel to see if the AC’s circuit breaker has tripped. If it has, you reset it and your AC gets back to cooling.

This may not be the end of the story, however. Your AC can trip the circuit breaker again. And again. If this situation occurs, we recommend you stop resetting the breaker. Something else is wrong with your AC, and you may require professional air conditioning service in Hatboro, PA to resolve the problem.

Reasons This Breaker Tripping Can Occur

An air conditioner is a powerful electrical appliance that uses more watts per hour than almost any other device in a household. (Only electric water heaters use more.) It’s not difficult for a stressed AC to overload its circuit. Here are some of the more common reasons for this.

  • Clogged air filter: The scourge of many ACs, the clogged air filter is the leading reason for the blower motor to overheat and lead to a tripped circuit breaker. We advise checking on the filter if your AC trips a circuit breaker the first time. If it’s clogged, put in a clean filter and this will probably correct the issue.
  • Lack of maintenance: Here’s yet another reason why regular maintenance is so critical. Without regular lubrication and cleaning of motors in an air conditioner, those motors can rapidly overheat and overload circuit breakers.
  • Low refrigerant: When an air conditioner is losing its refrigerant charge due to leaks, the system will work much harder to do its job—a recipe for a rapid overload. This is a significant repair that you’ll want done ASAP before the compressor dies.
  • Dirty condenser coils: Dirt along the outdoor coil will trap too much heat inside the AC, and soon cause the system to overheat and trip the circuit breaker. 
  • Aging air conditioner: Is your air conditioner more than 15 years old? If it is, tripped circuit breakers are a major warning that the AC is in its final decline. Too much stress from years of wear and tear is pushing the system’s electrical components to overload the circuit. 
  • Nonstop operation: An air conditioner is supposed to run in cycles of around 15 minutes. If the AC is running nonstop, it can easily cause an electrical overload. You’ll need technicians to find out why the air conditioner is running continually. 
  • Electrical panel problem: It’s possible the AC isn’t at fault; it’s the electrical panel. An older electrical panel may allow its circuits to trip easily. If this is the case, you’ll want professional electricians to investigate.

Our team is ready to assist you and get your AC back to work. Our NATE-certified technicians will see you and your family are kept cool once more.

Call Dowd Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning for your AC repair needs: A Degree Above the Rest.

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