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My Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker: Why and What To Do


When your air conditioner is running, one thing you don’t want to hear is a loud beep sound or the buzz of an alarm telling you that the AC circuit breaker has tripped. An air conditioner that keeps tripping the circuit breaker can be infuriating, especially if you must wait until the following day to call an electrician. However, if your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping repeatedly, this is not a situation you should ignore. 

If an AC circuit breaker trips more than once, avoid resetting your air conditioning system, as it has an underlying problem that needs to be resolved first. Here are some reasons your air conditioner keeps tripping and how to fix them.

Why Is My Air Conditioner Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

Air Conditioner Keeps Tripping

If you are wondering why your AC unit keeps tripping the circuit breaker, there could be several issues. Identifying the specific reason for the tripping is essential as fixing it immediately. Here are some reasons why your AC unit is tripping the breaker.

Dirty Air Filters

A dirty air filter blocks air from getting through your AC blower, and the fan motor has to work even more complex and protracted to get any air through the filter. This makes it demand more electricity and leads to the breaker being tripped. 

The AC blower must work longer and harder to circulate air through the filter—this causes the blower to draw more electricity and trip the breaker. In addition, dirty filters can reduce airflow and cause AC units to overheat, tripping the breaker afterward.

Dirty Outdoor Unit

There are indoor and outdoor units in every AC system. The indoor unit takes the heat from the air of your home. The refrigerant moves to the outdoor AC unit to dissipate the heat. However, if the outdoor unit is unclean, it won’t distribute heat effectively.

Broken Coil Fan or Dirty Condenser Coils 

Condenser coils are located in the outside AC system. It is designed to disperse heat from your home to the outside. If the condenser coils are dirty or broken, it can impact the heat dispersion of air conditioners. The heat dispersion can produce overheating that will melt the condenser coil. In addition, a faulty condensing coil can draw too much power, which will cause the AC circuit breaker to trip. 

Since the condenser coils are sitting outside your home, they can collect a significant amount of dirt. Therefore, a dirty condenser coil is usually caused by dirt or dust buildup in your outdoor unit.

Compressor Failure

The heart of your AC system is the compressor. If you have neglected maintenance for a long time, a failed compressor can occur.

As the compressor ages, it will likely experience problems in starting. When the compressor fails to start, it pulls a large amount of electricity. The breaker trips because of the sudden current surge from your grounded compressor. This is the worst possible cause for your air conditioner’s compressor, as the technician must replace the entire compressor and clean the refrigerant lines.

Refrigerant Leak

Refrigerants are meant to assist the air conditioning unit get rid of warm air from your home through your inside unit. If the refrigerant leaks, you can anticipate a significant drop in the refrigerant level of your AC that will keep tripping the breaker. It is also important to note that leaks from your refrigerant are harmful to your health.

Find where the leak is and get the refrigerant levels back to normal by contacting a professional. The best thing you can do is to get a professional AC repair service as soon as possible to address the issue.

Loose Wiring

An issue like a loose wire might also be responsible for your AC tripping.

Over time, the electrical wiring of your air conditioner may have a loose connection, which can cause your circuit breaker to trip from time to time. In addition, as the wiring ages, your air conditioning system will have a harder time starting and must pull even more electricity.

Short Circuit

A short circuit is a typical wiring problem that results in a tripping AC breaker. 

The electric motors of your air conditioner operate continuously for an extended period. When the engines run hot, this becomes an issue because the wire insulation may deteriorate over time.

This breakdown can cause an electrical short, a condition where electricity skips its standard path and take a shortcut. The short enables too much electricity to flow than what can the wires take. As a result, it can make the wires overheat and melt. This issue can eventually lead to a fire.

Since the current surge could cause a fire, your electrical panel has a failsafe for when this happens. The failsafe is your breaker tripping. If your problem is either loose wiring or short-circuiting, you’ll need to call in an HVAC professional or an electrician.

What Should I Do If an AC Unit Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker?

Clean Your Dirty Air Filter

If air filters cause your breaker to trip, the solution is cleaning the AC filter. Changing the air filter also ensures that your AC runs efficiently.

If the problem persists, you can opt to change your filters. For more information, you can read more about cleaning your air filters.

Check If the Condenser Fan is Spinning

Go outside your condenser unit to check if the outdoor fan is spinning. If not, you may need to replace your condenser fan. 

After you fix this issue and the fan is spinning, your unit will not overheat again. Therefore, the outdoor AC unit will stop tripping the breaker.

Measure the Refrigerant Pressure

A low refrigerant level is a common problem that results in a tripping breaker. First, check if the refrigerant levels are low through an HVAC professional. If freon leaks from your air conditioner, you may need to refill the freon immediately through an AC expert. 

Hire an Expert To Clean Your Outdoor Unit

It is essential to have your air conditioner cleaned by an aircon technician.

As much as you would like to clean your entire system, it is also necessary to let the experts handle the electrical equipment. Qualified specialists shall also take safety precautions to keep you and your family safe.

Get an AC Repair

A qualified technician will search for any minor problems that might keep your air conditioner from operating at peak. Here are some of the points to check with an aircon expert:

Final Thoughts

If you’re interested in getting your air conditioner to stop tripping the AC breaker, stick around with the tips we mentioned above. By calling an AC tech and replacing some parts of your air conditioner, you’ll have peace of mind that your AC will stop tripping your circuit breaker.

Regardless of the problem of your AC unit, a bad circuit breaker can easily be fixed. You can always call your AC technician for a regular check-up to avoid having problems with your air conditioner.

JP Reyes

JP has been in the aircon industry for almost as long as he has been alive. As a child JP would help his tatay fix aircon units at their junk shop in Cavite. After graduating UP in the early 2000's, JP then started his own Aircon servicing business and within 5 years had 10 shops in 8 different cities. Fast forward to today and JP brings all his experience and expertise online to give readers trustworthy advice and reviews about Air-conditioning buying, servicing, cleaning and repair in the Philippines.

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