• 31/ 05, 2019

Summer is at its peak in India, and the last thing you need is your air conditioner switching off and tripping the circuit breaker. If this happens to your air conditioner frequently, you may be wondering how to rectify the situation. Let’s first take a look at the role your AC circuit breaker plays in your home’s electrical system.

What is an AC circuit breaker?

Generally speaking, a circuit breaker is a safety switch that is built-in to your home’s electrical system. This switch will stop the flow of electricity to any component or device that is consuming too much power. This helps prevent an electrical overload which could potentially lead to an electrical fire. Your AC circuit breaker will trip if it is pulling in more amps than your circuit breaker is rated for. For instance, your 30-amp circuit breaker will trip if your AC is drawing in 40 amps. However, if your air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker, then it might be a cause for concern. Here are some common reasons you can take into consideration.

Blocked air filter

Every AC unit comes fitted with a screen that blocks out dirt, debris and tiny insects from entering the unit. With use and time, there are chances of your filter getting blocked. Once this happens, your AC’s blower has to work harder to circulate air through the filter. This, in turn, causes the fan to pull in more electricity than needed, and hence creates a circuit trip.

How to avoid this:

Regular maintenance is required. Clean out your AC filter at least once a month or change it if it has become obsolete.

Faulty circuit breaker

Sometimes, the reason for frequent circuit trips could lie within your circuit breaker itself. The wires connected to your circuit breaker may have come loose; the unit itself may be defective and require replacement, or it could even be the case of a simple electrical issue. Often with use, your circuit breaker’s capacitator could also fail. The good news is, this is a quick fix job and will not cost you too much to rectify.
How to avoid this: Get in touch with the professionals – they will either have to tighten the wires or replace your unit. Don’t forget to check out 5 reasons you need to switch to Finolex cables and wires to elongate the shelf-life of your electrical products.
How to avoid this: Regular maintenance of your AC unit is crucial to ensure your evaporator coil doesn’t freeze. If you start seeing ice form around the coil, turn off your AC immediately and call the professionals.

Dirt accumulated in the outside unit

Your AC consists of two separate units – the interior and exterior units. The interior unit absorbs heat from the air with the help of the refrigerant. This air percolates and is then sent to your exterior unit to disperse the heat. However, the exterior unit is susceptible to being clogged with dirt and debris. Since dirt acts as an insulator, the exterior unit will not be able to dispel the heat adequately. In this case, your AC will keep running, trying to disperse the heat until your circuit breaker trips.
How to avoid this: You will need to get your condenser unit professionally cleaned. Do not attempt cleaning the unit yourself; an HVAC technician will have the appropriate equipment and cleaning fluids to clean out your condenser unit without damaging it. You can check out our blog on a list of home electrical repairs you can try yourself for more insights.

Compressor failure

Consider your compressor to be the heart of your air conditioning unit. When it starts up, it pulls in a lot of electricity. As your compressor ages, it will start consuming a lot more electricity. Sometimes, your compressor will experience a “hard start”, meaning it will pull in too much electricity causing your circuit breaker to trip.
How to avoid this: You will require some professional help to deal with your compressor. A technician will have to install a “hard start kit” or a capacitor which will give the unit an extra jolt of electricity to get it moving. However, the capacitor will not work if your compressor is too old, in which case you will have to change the unit.

Refrigerant leaks

Refrigerant is typically a fluid found within your AC unit. It works in tandem with your compressor and evaporator, absorbing heat from the environment and providing cooling. An older AC unit or one that has experienced significant wear and tear can develop corrosion around the refrigerant coils and lead to cracks, holes and ultimately your refrigerant leaking. As your refrigerant levels drop, your AC unit will try to work harder to cool your space, leading to a circuit trip.
How to avoid this: You will see a gradual drop in your AC’s performance. Notify your AC repair mechanic immediately to avoid significant problems in the future.

Motor has shorted

Electric motors are manufactured to run for hours on end, and the same applies to the ones in your cooling unit. However, due to wear and tear, your motors could run too hot. When this happens, the insulation around its wires could break down or disintegrate because of the heat, causing the wire to “short”. Electricity runs through your wires and cables. A “short” in your wiring occurs when electricity bypasses its typical path; that is, it takes a “shortcut”. This deviation or short allows a lot more electricity to pass through – much more than your wires can handle, causing them to overheat, melt and potentially start a fire. This fire then causes a circuit trip.
How to avoid this: An AC repair mechanic will be able to find the source of the short and rectify it. Don’t forget to check out our blog on the best wire maintenance checklist to maintain the quality and functionality of your electrical devices.

Grounded compressor

A grounded compressor or a compressor that is “short to ground” means an electrical wire inside the unit has malfunctioned, causing it to hit the side of the compressor. This, in turn, creates a direct short to the ground, igniting the oil and causing a fire. This will lead to another circuit break.
How to avoid this: A grounded compressor needs immediate attention. An HVAC tech will need to clean out the refrigerant lines thoroughly and replace your compressor. More often than not, your air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker due to a lack of maintenance. If you are facing frequent circuit trips, reach out to the experts at Finolex today. You can also peruse our range of circuit breakers and other home appliances.

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