AC Tripping Breaker

Why Your AC Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker

And what you can do to stop it

One of the most common questions we receive from clients is how to handle an AC that continually trips the circuit breaker. You’ve identified your problem, and now you want to know how to fix it. Believe us – we know there’s nothing worse than struggling to beat the heat on the hottest days of summer because your AC won’t stay on.

But if you know what isn’t working, you’re probably wondering why it isn’t working and what you can do to get your AC running better than ever. The short answer is that your air conditioner is pulling in more amps than it’s supposed to. While this isn’t anything to panic over, you should avoid putting off the fix. 

Overloaded circuits could potentially lead to your wiring overheating and even catching fire. To avoid this worst-case scenario, we will be looking at the proper way to take care of an AC overloading its circuit breaker.  

Check and Clean Your Air Filter

Luckily, one of the most common causes of an AC tripping the circuit breaker also happens to be among the easiest to fix! Cleaning the air filter in your air conditioner might be something that hasn’t even crossed your mind in this situation, but it is crucial to maintaining the performance of your AC.

If your air filter becomes exceedingly dirty, the AC itself will need more power to do its job, which could cause it to trip the circuit breaker. Beyond that, an AC using more energy means it’s operating at lower efficiency and heightening your electricity bills. 

To avoid this, make sure that you check and clean your air filter frequently, every 90 days, for best performance. The process is a simple one that you can do by yourself to save money!

Begin by turning off your AC unit, opening it up, and removing the air filter. The air filter in an AC unit typically fits in a slot on the air return side of the unit. For the standard light buildup of dust and dirt, you can use the hose attachment with your vacuum to give your AC filter a quick clean. For dirtier filters, we recommend gently washing them in the sink or with a hose for a more thorough cleaning.  

Check and Clean Your Outdoor Coils

While it’s natural to think that the solution to all AC problems is within the air conditioner unit itself, don’t forget that most AC units also have outdoor components that could be the culprit – specifically, the outdoor coils. 

Similar to in your AC’s air filter, the buildup of dirt and dust within the AC coils can be detrimental to the overall performance of your air conditioner. Clogged coils will require more power from your AC, leading to the same issues that a dirty air filter will bring about. 

The process of cleaning your AC’s outdoor coil can be a bit more complicated than cleaning the air filter and can require a specific cleaning solution to care for it properly. However, with the right tools and the proper care, the process can still be done without professional assistance.

To begin, you will need to shut off all power to the coils. Next, remove the casing to the coils and quickly wash it down with water. Following this, spray the coils with whichever cleaning chemicals are recommended by the manufacturer of your AC and wash the coil a second time with water. After this, you can check for any additional debris or obstructions.

If the coil appears to be clean, reattach the casing and turn the power back on. To keep the outdoor coil clean and your AC running smoothly, be sure to clean the coil at least once per year.

Inspect the Circuit Breaker

In some instances, your AC might not even be the cause of a repeatedly tripping circuit breaker. If you have cleaned both the air filter and the outdoor coil without success, it could be an issue with the breaker itself.

Issues with the breaker could range anywhere from a loose wire to a part in need of repair. If you believe this to be the issue, call us at AirStream Heating and Air Conditioning today to schedule a service appointment, and we’ll send a member of our team to inspect the problem. 

Look for Broken Parts

Unfortunately, the issue with your AC may extend beyond a simple cleaning of the air filter. 

Over time, your AC unit may experience wear and tear to the point that certain parts require repair. Many aspects of your AC unit can break down over time, such as a malfunctioning or completely broken motor or shorted-out wiring.

Whatever the problem is, it’s nothing our team of trained technicians hasn’t seen before. If you need AC repair or assistance cleaning your air filter or outdoor coil, call AirStream Heating & Air Conditioning today at (813) 960-0510 to schedule an appointment.

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