Causes And Solutions For A Tripping AC Breaker

When you come home on a summer day and your house is hot and stuffy, you're probably wondering what's going on with your air conditioner. You adjust the thermostat and check the switch and it still won't come on. The next step is to check the electrical panel to see if the circuit breaker tripped. Here are some things that can cause that to happen and the repairs that might be needed if flipping the switch back on doesn't solve the problem.

Wiring Problem Or Short Circuit

When you open your electrical panel, inspect it before you touch anything. If you see burn marks or if the panel feels hot or smells like burned plastic, you don't want to turn the breaker back on. Call an electrician instead. If the panel looks okay, and the breaker is off, turn the breaker all the way off and then flip it back on. If the breaker flips off immediately, that's a sign of wiring trouble such as an electrical short. You can't do anything to repair this yourself, so call an HVAC contractor to take a look.

Air Conditioner Is Overheating

When your air conditioner overheats or struggles to operate, it might trip the breaker. When this happens, your AC might work for a while after you turn the breaker back on. If it trips the breaker again, you'll want to leave the breaker alone and call for an inspection of your AC. Before you call, take a look at the filter. If it is clogged with dust, that could be the problem. Changing the filter might save a service call. Other things that can cause an air conditioner to keep tripping a breaker include a clogged outdoor unit and problems with the compressor.

When your air conditioner first kicks on, it uses more power than it does when it's running. If the compressor has to struggle on top of that, the load could be too much for the breaker so it trips off. If changing the filter doesn't help your problem, then calling an HVAC technician to check the compressor and clean the outdoor unit might be the solution.

When your air conditioner is malfunctioning and causing the breaker to trip often, you should leave it in the off position until the HVAC technician arrives. The breaker is a safety mechanism and if you try to force it to stay on, you could create a fire hazard in your home. It's frustrating if you find out the cause of the problem is lack of cleaning and maintenance. Have your AC serviced regularly and change the filter on schedule so you can prevent unnecessary downtime and repairs. For more information, contact companies like Allied Mechanical & Electrical, Inc.


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