How to Find What Is Tripping My Circuit Breaker

How to Find What Is Tripping My Circuit Breaker

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A circuit breaker tripping due to your air conditioning system is another summertime problem Atlanta homeowners just don’t want! Not only does constant circuit breaker trips create hassle and inconvenience, it signals the presence of a deeper problem with your HVAC equipment producing this symptom.

Don’t simply reset the circuit breaker and wait around until next time it trips – a bad breaker tripping repeatedly is a cause for immediate action! Estes Services walks you through possible cooling system issues to blame for this issue as well as what you need to do to put an end to the problem. 

Air Conditioning Issues That Cause Circuit Breakers to Trip

When circuit breakers trip repeatedly during the summer, air conditioner issues may be the source of blame. Cooling system malfunctions that lead to this electrical issue include:

  • Hard starting compressor
  • Dirty condenser coils
  • Short in the motor
  • Grounded compressor

Compressor Hard Starts

The air conditioning system’s compressor draws electricity into the unit upon startup. As the compressor ages, the component has to draw more electricity in order to start up the cooling system. This excessive electricity pull can cause overloaded circuit breakers that trip whenever the air conditioner attempts to start. This issue is known as hard starting. 

In addition to circuit breaker trips, hard starting can produce some other noticeable symptoms. Grinding or clicking sounds from the outdoor unit signal the compressor is having trouble starting up. Hard starting uses more electricity, so your utility bills will also see a spike in consumption and cost.

Left alone, hard starting will eventually lead to the death of your air conditioner’s compressor. At this point, it must be replaced – but replacing the entire cooling system is likely the best option when this occurs.

If you call Estes Services for air conditioner repair as soon as you notice symptoms of a compressor hard starting, there may be a repair solution. The installation of a hard start kit adds a capacitor that kicks the compressor into action immediately, so it no longer struggles to start. If repairs and a hard start kit are options to save your compressor, don’t count on this solution forever – it may buy you a couple of more years with your air conditioner, if you’re lucky. It’s time to begin investigating your options for air conditioner replacement at this point.

Dirty Condenser Coils

Located within the outside cooling unit of your central air conditioning system are the condenser coils.  This component releases the heat held within the refrigerant into the outdoor atmosphere, completing the heat exchange process to cool your home.

Over time, the condenser coils become dirty from contaminant buildup – dirt, dust, grime and more. Buildup on their surface prevents the coils from expelling heat, leading to inefficient cooling. Your air conditioner is forced to draw more energy to perform, which harms the system, wastes electricity and could be the cause of circuit breaker trips. 

Dirty condenser coils have a simple solution – coil cleaning. Our trained HVAC technicians clean your condenser coils, removing difficult buildup so the central air conditioning system runs more efficiently and expels heat with ease.

Motor Short

An air conditioning system uses various motors to operate the compressor and different fans within its equipment. If the motor overheats, insulation on the motor’s wiring melts away. When the bare wiring is exposed, a short circuit is created, which allows electrical current to exit the circuit with minimal or no resistance.

When a short circuit is present in an air conditioner motor’s wiring, circuit breaker tripping occurs to cut electrical current to the circuit. This is necessary because short circuits pose a dangerous fire hazard in the home. 

If you suspect a short circuit is present due to damaged wiring in an air conditioner motor, call Estes Services so quick repairs can be made to protect the air conditioning system, electrical system and your home.

Grounded Compressor

The worst-case scenario is that you have a grounded compressor, which means that an electrical wire has broken and struck the side of the compressor (the compressor casing) or the ground. When this occurs, a direct short to ground is created, which ignites oil inside the compressor, ultimately causing burnout.  A tripped circuit breaker occurs when there is a sudden surge of electrical current to the ground that passes through the compressor.

If your system has a grounded compressor, the entire compressor must be replaced – broken wires within the component are cost prohibitive to repair, and replacement of the entire component is preferred. 

Estes Corrects Circuit Breaker Tripping

When a circuit breaker keeps tripping repeatedly, don’t ignore this symptom of a larger air conditioning system problem. Call Estes Services today to schedule a repair appointment with our licensed electricians.