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How To Fix “Air Conditioning Breaker Keeps Tripping” Issue?

Dealing with an air conditioning breaker that keeps tripping is frustrating, when it’s hot and you need your AC. This problem can interrupt your cooling and might indicate serious electrical issues that need quick action. It’s important to understand and fix this to avoid safety risks and keep your AC running smoothly. Here’s how you can solve this problem and keep your home cool and safe.

What Is An AC Circuit Breaker?

Circuit breakers in AC are the components known for safety. These are essential safety components that help to protect your air conditioner from any kind of damage caused due to short circuit and overload. When more electricity starts flowing from the electrical wiring, this circuit breaker works by cutting off the power until the problem has been completely fixed or reset.

So, an AC circuit breaker is a crucial component that protects the equipment and prevents heavy currents flow. It also prevents electric fire by shutting off the power.

What Causes AC Breaker Keeps Tripping?

The AC breaker may keep tripping due to several common causes:

Mismatched Amperage:

If your air conditioner is designed to draw more power (amps) than your circuit breaker can handle, it will cause the breaker to trip repeatedly. This is a safety feature to prevent overheating and potential damage to your electrical system. For example, if a 30-amp AC is connected to a 20-amp breaker, the mismatch will lead to frequent trips.

Dirty Air Filter:

A clogged air filter restricts airflow through the AC system, forcing it to consume more power to circulate air. This increased electrical demand can overload the circuit, causing the breaker to trip. Regularly cleaning or replacing the air filter can prevent this issue and improve efficiency.

Dirty Outside Unit:

The outdoor unit of your AC disperses heat from the refrigerant. If this unit is covered in dirt, the system’s efficiency drops, and it needs more power to operate, which can trip the breaker. Cleaning the outside unit ensures it operates smoothly and doesn’t overwork.

Circuit Breaker Issues:

An old or faulty breaker can become sensitive and prone to tripping. Loose wiring or a deteriorated breaker might not be able to handle the electrical load of a functioning AC, leading to unnecessary trips. Tightening connections or replacing the breaker can resolve this problem.

Shorted Motor:

The motors in your AC unit can wear out over time, especially if they operate under high stress. Overheating motors can degrade their insulation, leading to electrical shorts that trip the breaker. This is often indicated by a burning smell or unusual noises before the breaker trips.

Compressor Starting Issues:

As compressors age, they may struggle to start up, requiring more initial power which can overwhelm the circuit. Installing a hard start kit can help the compressor start more easily without drawing excessive power and tripping the breaker.

Grounded Compressor:

Internal damage within the compressor can cause it to ground, creating a direct path to earth which leads to a short circuit. This condition not only trips the breaker but can also lead to compressor burnout, requiring significant repairs or replacement.

Overheating on Hot Days:

On extremely hot days, your AC has to work harder and longer to cool your home, increasing its power consumption. This heightened demand can push the AC beyond the breaker’s capacity, causing it to trip as a preventive measure.

Insufficient Electrical Current:

If your home’s wiring or the AC circuit is not providing enough current, or if there’s a mismatch in the wiring, your AC may trip the breaker. Ensuring that your AC is correctly wired and that the home’s electrical system can support it is crucial.

Faulty Wiring:

Aging or improperly installed wiring can be less efficient at conducting electricity, causing increased resistance and heat buildup that trips the breaker. Regular inspections by a qualified technician can detect and correct such issues to ensure safe operation.

How To Fix Air Conditioner Tripping Breaker?

To fix an air conditioner that keeps tripping the breaker, follow these steps:

  • Start by checking the air filters. If they are dirty, replace them to ensure proper airflow and reduce the strain on your AC unit.
  • Dirt on the condenser coils can cause the AC to overheat and use more power. Clean these coils to improve efficiency and prevent overheating.
  • Examine the wiring connections to the AC unit and breaker for any signs of looseness or damage. Tighten any loose connections and replace damaged wires.
  • If the breaker is old or not suited to the load it’s handling, consider replacing it with one that has the appropriate amperage rating for your AC unit.
  • The compressor might require a hard start kit to reduce the power surge when it turns on, or it might need to be replaced if it’s severely damaged.
  • For issues like a shorted motor, grounded compressor, or any complex electrical faults, it’s safest to hire a certified HVAC technician. They can diagnose and fix issues that are not easily handled through basic maintenance.


So these are some of the most common reasons your AC breaker keeps tripping. While some of the solutions can be done by properly cleaning the internal and external unit along with the air filters, some need working with internal components and hence seek expert analysis. It is better to call professionals to diagnose and find the exact problems to prevent the AC circuit breaker from tripping.


Is it safe to reset the breaker multiple times if it keeps tripping?

While resetting the breaker once or twice is generally safe, repeated tripping may indicate an underlying issue. Continuously resetting the breaker without addressing the root cause could lead to electrical hazards or damage to the air conditioner.

Should I consider upgrading my electrical panel if the breaker keeps tripping?

Upgrading to a higher-amperage electrical panel may be necessary if the current panel is unable to handle the load of the air conditioner and other appliances. Consulting with a qualified electrician to assess your electrical system is recommended.

Could an undersized breaker be the cause of frequent tripping?

Yes, an undersized breaker may not be able to handle the electrical load required by the air conditioner, leading to frequent tripping. Consulting with an electrician to ensure the breaker is properly sized for the unit’s requirements is advisable.

Can weather conditions affect the air conditioner’s breaker tripping?

Yes, extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves or electrical storms can put additional strain on air conditioners, leading to increased chances of the breaker tripping. Ensuring proper insulation and ventilation around the outdoor unit can help mitigate these effects.

What preventive maintenance tasks can prevent breaker tripping?

Regular maintenance tasks such as cleaning or replacing air filters, inspecting ductwork for leaks, and ensuring proper airflow around the outdoor unit can help prevent issues that may lead to breaker tripping.

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