If your AC's circuit breaker constantly trips even after you reset it, equipment damage is imminent if you don't act quickly. The circuit breaker trips due to excess current in the system. For instance, if your 30-amp AC circuit breaker draws 40 amps, the circuit breaker will trip as a safety precaution to prevent a potential electrical fire.
So, why does your AC trip the circuit breaker?
Refrigerant is a cold fluid in your air conditioner that absorbs indoor heat to cool your house. If the refrigerant leaks, your AC strains to eliminate the warm air in your home. The more your AC strains, the more power it uses, which ultimately trips the circuit breaker.
AC refrigerant leaks when the refrigerant coils corrode due to old age or poor maintenance and develop cracks. The result is low refrigerant levels that cause your AC to lose its effectiveness. Signs of low refrigerant levels are:
- Ice build-up on the refrigerant line
- Unusual noises from your unit
- Higher than normal utility bills
Since refrigerant is a dangerous substance, you should bring in a professional to repair your AC and restore normal refrigerant levels.
The compressor is a crucial component of your AC — think of it as the heart or engine of your unit. However, old age, poor maintenance, dirty coils, or electrical problems may cause compressor failure.
A defective compressor experiences a 'hard start,' which means that it draws excess electricity as it starts. As a result, the compressor overheats, drawing more power than it needs to. In doing so, your unit ultimately trips the circuit breaker.
As a homeowner, you may not easily notice compressor failure. So, a qualified AC technician is best suited to fix your unit. Your technician can install a hard start kit capacitor that gives the compressor motor a starting torque to keep your compressor functional. However, if your AC's compressor is old or damaged, a replacement is the best option.
Faulty Circuit Breaker
Sometimes your AC's own circuit breaker is the culprit for frequent tripping. Over time, the circuit breaker can wear out and become faulty. Also, loose connections in your circuit breaker can affect your AC's functionality. Worse still, the breaker's capacitors can fail and cause AC issues.
You will know you have a faulty circuit breaker if you notice visible damage to the breaker box. Other issues to look out for are:
- A burning smell
- Breaker feels hot
- Breaker won't stay in reset mode
Your technician can tighten the loose connecting wires or replace the circuit breaker to restore your unit's efficiency.
A malfunctioning AC is quite inconvenient, especially during the hot summer months. So, if your AC trips the circuit breaker persistently, reach out to a reputable AC contactor for specialized diagnosis and repairs.