Why Is Your Air Conditioner Making Your Circuit Breaker Trip?

Did you ever turn on your air conditioner only to have it turn right back off? Did it trip a circuit breaker? For some, this happens frequently. For others, it can represent a rare annoyance. Sometimes, it's a delayed reaction. But why does it happen at all?

What's the Problem with Your AC?

A tripped breaker has to do with how electricity is passing through your home wiring and circuit. There are several things that can cause an AC to start attempting to eat up too much electricity too fast.

Dirty air filters, evaporator, and condenser coils can cause an AC to overheat. It overheats because it's working harder to make use of its components through the dirt and dust.

Operating in an overheated state requires more electricity. The AC will try to draw in more and more, but your circuit breaker will cut it off to prevent it from damaging itself or your electrical system.

Other things can cause overheating as well, such as low refrigerant or compressor issues. It's important to have a professional service your AC if you can't easily pinpoint the problem.

Clean or replace your air filters according to the manufacturer's instructions. That's typically enough to keep most problems at bay. You can clean coils with a soft bristled brush and compressed air. There are also products out there specifically for cleaning AC coils.

Is It Always the AC's Fault?

Don't automatically assume you have a problem with your air conditioner. Often, the wiring in your home can cause issues that trip breakers. You may have more things vying for electricity than your current wiring can handle. When you turn on the AC, it's the proverbial straw that breaks the system.

You may also have faulty wiring. Old or damaged wiring can cause you many issues that have nothing to do with your AC. A breaker can trip just because two wires are touching somewhere along the path that powers your AC. An electrical issue can cause you far more problems than an occasionally tripped breaker.

Try turning off everything else, then turning on your AC. If it trips a breaker immediately, there's a chance you need an electrician. If the AC runs for a while before tripping the breaker, then check it for dust and dirt.

If that doesn't help, then you may have a larger issue. Have a professional home ac services team check for problems with the AC.