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Why My AC Trips the Circuit Breaker When I Switch It On

In many older homes, tuning on the AC may cause everything else to shut off. When this happens, it means the circuit breaker has been tripped. Basically, a circuit breaker is a gadget which protects your equipment, wiring, and even the entire house against an upsurge in electricity. The reason circuit breakers have become an issue in older homes is because the wiring systems in these homes cannot handle the magnitude of electricity that is required to power most of the modern day appliances.

If your circuit breaker trips when you turn on your AC unit, don’t continue resetting the circuit thinking it will pick up. As a matter of fact, forcing the circuit breaker to contain the surge in electricity and never switch off your appliances can even be more dangerous. Instead of ignoring the problem, you need to look for ways of installing a dedicated circuit.

Among the reasons why your AC unit may be tripping the circuit includes:

An Overheating AC

When the compressor overheats, the whole of your AC unit may be forced to shut down. There are many circumstances and reasons why a compressor may overheat but one of the main reasons is when the motor has bad bearings or windings. The excess resistance the motor faces while in operation generates excessive heat. An overheating air conditioner draws more power from the circuit than usual hence causing the trip.

Poorly Maintained AC

When an AC unit stays for long without its annual maintenance check being done, it can easily cause power trips when connected to the main. During a typical maintenance check, HVAC technicians inspect your filters, clean your compressor coils and ensure your refrigerant levels are at the optimal level. When air filters become dirty and condenser coils dusty and loaded with debris, they can trap heat and cause your AC to work extra hard thereby drawing more power from the circuit. In the same vein, if your refrigerant levels are sub-optimal, they can cause your AC to work harder than usual in order to pump out cold air.

Parts Failure

Whenever one of the parts in your AC is not working right, the unit may be forced to pull more amps so as to make up for the inefficiency caused by the broken component. Such a problem can be sorted out by an air conditioner repair expert.

Lack of a Dedicated Circuit

A dedicated circuit is important because it serves one appliance only. Most large equipments including HVAC systems require their own dedicated circuits because they pull so much energy out of the circuit. Most of the homes that were built within the past 20 years have modern wiring installations which allow for modern HVAC systems. However, if you are add a mini split or window AC unit, you may have to install additional circuits. The rule of thumb when it comes to equipment and wiring is – if it has a motor, it should have its own circuit.

If you are living in an older home and you aren’t sure of the wiring system and you are facing a circuit breaker problem, you should contact a HVAC technician who will inspect your HVAC unit, the circuitry and what needs to be done.

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