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Why Does My AC Keep Tripping My Breaker?

Does your AC keep tripping your breaker? Amidst sweltering heat, this is no fun to deal with, and you’re probably frustrated about why it keeps happening. You might also be worried about the safety and efficiency of your AC and electrical systems.

As one of your home’s most significant energy draws, your air conditioner consumes a substantial amount of power, so it’s important to make sure that your home’s electrical panel is set up to accommodate it. If it’s not, you’ll run into problems– or worse, safety hazards.

To shed some light on the issue and help you find resolution, in this article, we’ll run through:

  • Why breakers can trip
  • Common reasons your AC is tripping the breaker
  • Recommended solution

Don’t let a broken AC disrupt your comfort. Call Champion Air today!

Whether it’s a sudden breakdown or just time for a routine check-up, Champion Air is your go-to expert for all air conditioning repair needs in Phoenix. Our experienced technicians provide prompt service and exceptional quality workmanship. Plus, we’re available 24/7 for those “it can’t wait!” emergencies. Call us now at 480-748-4000 or click below to schedule service online. 

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Why Breakers Can Trip

Before diagnosing the problem, it’s important to understand how your air conditioner and the circuit breaker impact each other. Your AC cools your home by removing heat from the indoor air and essentially dumping it outside through your condenser unit. To accomplish this, it needs quite a lot of power. All the more on blistering hot days when your AC works harder than normal.

The circuit breaker, on the other hand, is a safety device designed to protect your home from electrical overloads and short circuits. When a circuit draws more power than it’s designed to handle, the breaker “trips” or cuts off electricity to that circuit as a protective measure. If running your AC causes the circuit breaker to trip, then there’s something wrong behind the scenes that needs to be addressed.

Common Reasons Your AC Is Tripping the Breaker

There are several reasons why your AC might cause the breaker to trip. Let’s take a look at the most common ones.

Reason #1: Overloaded Circuit

The most straightforward reason for a breaker tripping is circuit overload. This happens when multiple appliances are connected to the same circuit as the air conditioner, causing the electrical demand to exceed what the circuit can handle. Air conditioners require a significant amount of power, and when combined with other devices, it can push the circuit beyond its limit. As a best practice, your AC should be running on its own dedicated circuit.

Reason #2: Short Circuiting

A short circuit in the air conditioning unit is a more serious issue. This occurs when there is an abnormal connection between two wires which should not be connected. The resulting electrical surge can generate a lot of heat, prompting the breaker to trip. Signs of a potential short circuit include a burning smell or visible burn marks near the wiring of the AC unit. If you see or smell this, immediately call a qualified electrician or HVAC technician!

Reason #3: Faulty Capacitor

The capacitor in your air conditioner functions like a battery to help the motor start up and run efficiently. Over time, capacitors can wear out or fail due to power surges or regular wear and tear. A faulty capacitor might cause your AC to consume more power to start up, which can trip the breaker as a consequence.

Reason #4: Dirty Air Filter or Coils

When air filters and coils in your AC become clogged with dirt and debris, the system has to work harder to circulate air. This extra strain reduces efficiency and increases power consumption, potentially leading to overloaded circuits. Regular AC maintenance will help you avoid this issue.

Reason #5: Ground Fault

Similar to a short circuit, a ground fault involves a wrong connection, specifically between live and ground wires. This problem is more likely to occur in humid environments or with poor insulation. Ground faults in AC systems can lead to significant electrical discharges, tripping the breaker for safety reasons.

Recommended Solutions

If your air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker, there are a few things you can try to fix the issue. First, ensure the air conditioner isn’t using more power than your electrical circuit can handle. You might need to use fewer other appliances on the same circuit. Another common issue is a dirty air filter, which can make your air conditioner work too hard and use excessive power. Simply cleaning or replacing the filter can often solve the problem. Also, look over your air conditioner for any signs of damage, especially in the compressor, as faults here can cause high power usage. If these steps don’t work, it’s a good idea to call a professional. They can check for harder-to-spot issues like refrigerant leaks or electrical problems, ensuring your air conditioner runs safely and efficiently.


Need reliable AC repairs? Call Phoenix’s most trusted pros: Champion Air.

Day or night, our skilled AC repair technicians are just a phone call away, ready to restore comfort to your home with our 24/7 emergency service. Whether it’s a tripped breaker or another AC issue, we’ll swiftly diagnose the root cause and then provide efficient, lasting solutions. Call us or request service online and see why we’re Phoenix’s top choice for reliable AC repair service. 

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