A circuit breaker protects your electrical system and the electric devices in your home from excessive electrical current. Too much electrical current can damage your air conditioning system and heat up wiring to the point of causing a fire. This is why you should never continually reset a circuit breaker every time it trips.
Now and then a one-time power surge may trip the circuit breaker, such as from a lightning storm. To rule this out, reset your circuit breaker only once before turning your air conditioner on. If the breaker trips again, there’s a problem with either your circuit breaker or the AC system. If the breaker has a burning smell, feels hot, or you see signs of charring, the circuit breaker has gone bad. Otherwise, the issue probably lies with your air conditioner.
Here are four possible problems with your AC:
- The air filter is dirty. A dirty air filter increases resistance to air flowing through it which then intensifies the workload on your AC system, which ultimately increases the draw of electrical current. This increased current trips the circuit breaker. Replace the air filter and try again.
- The condenser unit requires cleaning. The condenser unit can get full of dirt and debris, especially in its fins. This reduces air flow through the fins and prevents the condenser from efficiently dispersing heat. The AC then draws too much current, which trips the circuit breaker. If the condenser is dirty and you have experience cleaning the condenser unit, then give it a good cleaning.
- A motor has a problem. A motor could have shorted out from running too hot. For example, if a fan motor is working too hard to push air, the internal wiring could overheat and break down the insulation; thus causing a short, which trips the breaker. The motor having a bad capacitor can also trip the circuit breaker.
- The air conditioner has a refrigerant leak. Too little refrigerant causes the AC system to work too hard. If this is the problem, there is no point in refilling your AC with more refrigerant. The fact that your AC worked without problems in the past means that it used to have plenty of refrigerant; which means that your AC has a leak and should be fixed.
If you have any questions or need assistance, we encourage you to contact Cunningham Associates Heating and Air Conditioning in Atlanta GA.