How do you reset a tripped AC breaker?

How Do I Stop My AC from Tripping the Breaker [Reasons/Fixes]

Wondering how do I stop my AC from tripping the breaker? If your AC or air conditioner is constantly tripping the breaker, leaving you in a sweltering mess, there are simple solutions to the problem. First, you can change the air filter to clean the dirt, causing the AC unit to consume extra power.

If the problem persists, perform a hard reset on the AC breaker to prevent those annoying trips. Head to your main distribution panel, flip the AC circuit breaker to “on,” and wait 20-30 minutes for the internal breaker to reset in the AC unit.

Let’s break down these steps for you. We’ll explain why changing the air filter matters and guide you through the easy-peasy hard reset process. Stay tuned until the end to get all you need to fix your A breaker from tripping!

Learn how to turn off AC circuit breaker in 6 easy steps to get started!

AC breaker trips

Understanding What Does Tripping Mean

When your AC keeps tripping the breaker, the power to your air conditioner has been abruptly cut off. This occurs because the AC draws more electrical current, measured in amps than the breaker is designed to handle.

If your 15 amp breaker keeps tripping, the AC pulls more than 15 amps, around 25-30 amps per se. The primary purpose of this tripping is to shield you from potential hazards like equipment damage and fire caused by excessive currents.

If your air conditioner is causing frequent breaker trips, it’s a signal that something is amiss, and addressing it promptly can prevent further issues. Here’s what you need to know about AC Breaker requirements according to the size of the AC:

CapacityCurrent (Amp)Circuit Breaker Size
0.75 T5 – 6 A<= 16 A
1.0 T6 – 7 A16 – 20 A
1.5 T8 – 10 A20 – 32 A
2.0 T15 – 16 A>32A

Where Is the AC Circuit Breaker and What Does it Look Like?

Before we dive into “how do I stop my AC from tripping the breaker,” it’s important we learn where the breaker is and what it looks like. The AC circuit breaker is often inside a gray metal box in your basement or garage. It can also be found outside your home. This breaker is your go-to guardian, preventing electrical overloads that could lead to issues like the fuse tripping or the AC constantly turning on and off.

Recognizing it is simple: open the panel and look for the breaker switch labeled A/C or HVAC. It ensures your AC operates smoothly without tripping dramas or power interruptions. Familiarizing yourself with its location and appearance empowers you to troubleshoot and maintain a cool, uninterrupted indoor environment.

AC breaker keeps tripping

8 Common Reasons Why AC Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

1.      Loose Wire, Short, or Electrical Component Failure

If your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping, it could signal a loose wire, a short circuit, or a malfunctioning electrical component. These issues disrupt the electrical flow, leading to frequent breaker trips.

Check for any visible damage, exposed wires, or burnt components to identify and rectify the problem causing the power to keep going on and off.

2.      Possible Power Surge

Breakers won’t stay on if your AC experiences a sudden power surge. This can happen due to lightning strikes or other electrical disturbances.

Investing in surge protectors can safeguard your AC system and prevent the breaker from tripping immediately after a surge.

3.      Dirty Air Filter

An often-overlooked culprit for breaker trips is a dirty air filter.

When airflow is restricted, the system works harder, drawing more current and causing the AC to trip the breaker. Regularly changing the air filter prevents this, ensuring your breaker stays on.

4.      Compressor is Grounded/Trouble Starting

A grounded compressor or trouble starting can result in the AC tripping the breaker after 5 minutes or even immediately. This may indicate a serious internal problem.

Professional inspection is crucial to address these issues promptly and prevent ongoing a/c breaker tripped instances. Regular maintenance can also identify potential problems before they escalate.

5.      Dirty Condenser Coil

A dirty condenser coil strains the AC system, causing it to draw excessive current and tripping the breaker. This issue is a common culprit when power keeps going on and off. Regular cleaning of the condenser coil ensures optimal performance and prevents breaker trips.

6.      Fan Motor Shorted

A shorted fan motor can lead to power fluctuations, triggering the breaker to trip. If your AC’s compressor is not turning on, it could be due to a shortage in the fan motor.

Expert Tip: Timely repairs are essential to prevent power interruptions and issues like the furnace’s tripping breaker.

7.      Frozen Evaporator Coil

When the evaporator coil freezes, it obstructs airflow, causing the AC to work harder and trip the breaker. This can result in the heater tripping the breaker after a few minutes.

Expert Tip: Regular maintenance, including checking for frozen coils, is crucial to prevent such disruptions.

8.      Refrigerant Leaks

Refrigerant leaks impact the AC’s efficiency, increasing power consumption and breaker trips. If you notice the window AC compressor not turning on or the refrigerator tripping the breaker, it might indicate refrigerant issues.

Important Tip: Addressing leaks promptly ensures consistent cooling and prevents frequent breaker interruptions.

AC breaker tripped

How Do I Stop My AC from Tripping the Breaker [Step-by-Step]

When your AC circuit breaker trips, it’s not just an inconvenience but a potential sign of underlying issues. Before repeatedly resetting it, understand the importance of identifying the root cause. Often, a single power surge, like from a nearby lightning strike, can trigger the breaker, and a quick reset may suffice.

To troubleshoot how do I stop my AC from tripping the breaker effectively, follow these steps:

  1. Begin by switching off the air conditioning system at the thermostat(s).
  2. Flip the AC circuit breaker switch at your electrical panel to the ON position. However, the crucial step is waiting 30 minutes with the AC OFF. This timeout allows the internal circuit breaker in the AC unit to reset.
  3. During the 30-minute wait, keep the thermostat OFF to prevent any cooling signals. This ensures a complete reset, especially if the trip resulted from a temporary power surge.
  4. After the waiting period, set your air conditioner back to cool. This simple hard reset resolves the problem with any luck, and your AC circuit breaker won’t trip again.

Is It Dangerous If Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?

A continuously tripping AC circuit breaker is more than a mere inconvenience; it signals a potential danger. Each circuit has a designated voltage capacity, and persistent overloads increase the risk of electrical fires. The warning signs are consistent whether it’s your central AC, window AC, refrigerator, or heater.

  1. Overloaded circuits, if left unaddressed, pose a serious fire hazard.
  2. Ignoring the repeated trips jeopardizes not only your appliances’ functionality but also your home’s safety.

Important Tip: Regularly check and promptly address any issues contributing to breaker trips to ensure a secure electrical environment and prevent the risk of electrical fires.

Can a Bad AC Capacitor Cause the Breaker to Trip?

Yes, a faulty AC capacitor can cause the circuit breaker to trip. When your air conditioner struggles to initiate the compressor, it indicates a potential issue with the capacitor. The capacitor’s role in kick-starting the compressor is vital, and if it malfunctions, the compressor may face difficulty starting up.

This struggle to start can lead to an increased amp draw, triggering the circuit breaker to trip if your AC trips the breaker immediately or experiences frequent a/c breaker trips, a thorough inspection of the capacitor is warranted.

Addressing capacitor issues promptly ensures a smoother start for the compressor, preventing unnecessary breaker interruptions and maintaining your cooling system’s efficiency.

Call a Professional HVAC Team to Get Your AC Circuit Breaker Repaired

If your AC circuit breaker keeps immediately tripping or the AC fails to restart, it’s time to bring in the professionals for a thorough diagnosis and repair. Persistent issues demand expert attention to avoid potential hazards and ensure the longevity of your HVAC system.

In cases where the system appears to work temporarily but then shuts off and trips the breaker again, consider the air filter’s role. A clogged filter forces the fan motor to overwork, drawing excessive electricity and potentially causing the breaker to trip. In such instances, attempting to change the air filter might be a simple yet effective solution.

If problems persist, a professional HVAC team is your best bet to navigate the complexities of your system and address issues like the water heater breaker keeps tripping or the heater tripping the breaker after a few minutes.

fixing AC breaker tripping

Final Words

Well, that was our complete guide on “how do I stop my AC from tripping the breaker.” Understanding why your AC circuit breaker trips is crucial for comfort and safety. Whether it’s a bad capacitor, power surge, or other issues like dirty filters, timely intervention can prevent hazards like electrical fires. Remember, resetting the breaker occasionally might work for a one-time glitch, but persistent trips demand professional attention.

Regular maintenance, prompt repairs, and being vigilant about warning signs to ensure your AC operates smoothly. Don’t overlook these signals; keep your home cool and secure by addressing AC issues proactively.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can resetting the breaker fix the AC?

Resetting the breaker can fix minor issues like one-time power surges or temporary glitches. However, persistent breaker trips may indicate underlying problems that require professional inspection and repair.

How do you reset a tripped AC breaker?

To reset a tripped AC breaker, turn off the air conditioning system at the thermostat, locate the AC circuit breaker in the main distribution panel, switch it to the “off” position, wait for 30 minutes, and then turn it back to “on.” This allows the internal breaker in the AC unit to reset.

Where is the AC reset button located?

Not all AC units have a reset button. Instead, the reset is typically performed by switching off the breaker in the main distribution panel. If your unit does have a reset button, it’s usually near the unit’s access panel.

Do all AC units have a reset button?

No, not all AC units have a reset button. Many rely on the breaker reset method. If your unit does have a reset button, consult the user manual or look near the access panel for its location.

Why does AC trip again and again?

AC units may trip repeatedly due to various issues, including a dirty air filter, electrical component failure, power surges, or compressor problems. Persistent trips indicate an underlying problem that needs professional assessment to prevent potential hazards and ensure the system’s proper functioning.

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