Why Is My AC Unit Tripping The Circuit Breaker?

breaker box

At Bunn’s and Bennett HVAC, we are commonly asked why AC units trip circuit breakers at the control panel. If this is happening to you, it’s important to remember to not keep turning the circuit back on.

The circuit breaker’s job is to keep your home and appliances safe by shutting off the flow of electricity when the current flow gets too high. If it keeps tripping, something needs to be fixed.

Reasons Your A/C Trips The Circuit Breaker

If the air conditioner is the source of the tripping, it may be overheating. When an air conditioner overheats, it draws more power from the circuit, which may be pushing the circuit past the amount of electrical power it was meant to handle. So, the breaker usually trips after the air conditioner has been running for a while.

Common causes of overheating include:

1) Dirty air filter: dirt on the filter impedes air flow. This causes the AC to run longer to circulate enough cool air to achieve the temperature you want. This causes the air conditioner to overheat. Change the filter and see if that helps.

2) Dirty condenser coils: the condenser coils are in your air conditioner’s outside unit. Refrigerant runs through these coils. A fan blows over the coils to dissipate the heat the refrigerant absorbed from your home. This is done so the refrigerant can flow back into the inside air conditioning unit and absorb more heat from your home’s air. If the condenser coils are covered in dust, dirt and leaves, then the coils can’t properly dissipate the heat. So the air conditioner has to work harder and longer to cool your home and overheats as a result.

You could wash the coils off, or you could have a Bunn’s and Bennett HVAC technician do it professionally as part of a pre-season air conditioner maintenance visit / A/C tune-up. Now is the perfect time for a visit!

3) Not enough refrigerant: without enough refrigerant, the air conditioner has to work longer to cool your home. The air conditioner overheats in the process. You’ll know you don’t have enough refrigerant if the air coming from your unit isn’t very cold. A professional technician will have to add more refrigerant and seal the refrigerant leak.

4) Condenser coil fan malfunction: this is the fan in the outside unit. If it stops working, it can’t cool down the condenser coils properly. Call Bunn’s and Bennett if your fan is not working.

Bunn’s & Bennett Heating & Air Conditioning

If these suggestions did not solve your problem, or you’d simply prefer a professional take a look at your system, call Bunn’s & Bennett Heating & Air Conditioning. We are a licensed HVAC dealer serving the Huntsville-Madison (AL) and Tennessee Valley area. We are available 24/7/365 for any and all of your HVAC needs. Let us cool your Bunns!

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