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Reasons Your AC Keeps Tripping Its Circuit Breaker

installer-stripping-wireOne of the first things we recommend people check when their air conditioning system suddenly stops working (fans, compressor, all of it) is to check the electrical panel. The circuit breaker to the air conditioning system may have tripped and cut off the electricity. Resetting the tripped breaker will restore the AC to normal working order.

But what if this keeps happening? If you’re often walking to the electrical panel because the AC once again shut itself off, there’s something wrong. It might be with the electrical panel itself—if it’s an old panel, ask an electrician to look at it and determine it’s time for an upgrade. But it’s more likely you’re due for some good ol’ air conditioning repair in Irvine, CA from our skilled HVAC technicians.

What Might Be Causing This

There are a few possible sources within the HVAC system that could cause a tripped breaker. Something is going wrong that is creating too much voltage demand on the particular circuit, forcing it to trip.

  • Clogged Air Filter – A clogged filter is behind many air conditioning troubles, and it’s another part of the AC we frequently advise our customers to investigate. When the filter becomes so clogged that the blower fan has to work harder to draw in sufficient air, the stress this places on the blower motor is tremendous. If the blower motor shorts out, the circuit breaker will trip. Put in a fresh filter, and remember to change it every 1 to 3 months.
  • Loose Wiring Connections: An air conditioner has its own circuit board and connections. During maintenance, HVAC technicians always tighten these connections and check the amperage on the system to make sure it’s within normal parameters. If the connections loosen, it may lead to a short. This issue must have professionals repair it—it’s not safe to tamper with the wiring in the AC.
  • Loss of Refrigerant: The refrigerant in an AC remains at a set level for the life of the system. At least, it should. If leaks occur and refrigerant escapes, it puts the entire system in jeopardy. As the AC loses cooling, the compressor must work harder, and this may cause a circuit breaker to trip. Let the AC experts find the leaks, seal them, and restore the lost refrigerant.
  • Dirty Outdoor Coils: The outside coils are the condenser coils, where the fan draws air across the coils to release heat from them. When the coils are too dirty, the AC won’t be able to release the heat drawn from inside the house to the outside. The air conditioner will soon overheat—and you’ll have a tripped breaker. Cleaning the coils needs to be left to professionals, since they must first detach the coils and then use special chemicals.
  • Dying Air Conditioner: If you have an air conditioning system that’s more than 15 years old, the trouble may be that it’s lost the ability to properly cool the house and is running harder to make up the difference. Constantly tripped breakers are a warning that it’s time to consult with a pro to see about a replacement.

Saddleback Plumbing has proudly served Orange County since 1981. Call us for fast AC repairs.

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