Dealing with electricity can be a life or death matter. Circuit breakers are a vital part of any electrical system. They are a safety device that can turn off or “trip” at the first sign of trouble. Since an air conditioning unit needs energy to run, it has a dedicated circuit within the breaker box.
It is not uncommon for these breakers to “trip” on occasion. It can be due to storms or other weather events, or it can turn off when the circuit is overloaded. It is a warning that something isn’t right within the unit. If your breaker is tripping frequently, you need to get professional assistance. Don’t keep turning the breaker back on and expecting the problem to fix itself. Since it is an electrical component, it is a very serious matter. Here are the three most common reasons why a circuit will kick due to an AC unit.
1. Faulty Compressor
The compressor is one of the main units within the AC system. It turns the low-pressure gas from the refrigerant into a heated gas with high-pressure. Inside this piece of equipment is valves, and it is not uncommon for them to leak. When the valves are leaking, it makes the compressor work harder to pressurize the gas. This can cause electrical shorts and eventually burn out the motor. When one of the connections isn’t functioning as it should, the motor will trip the breaker. Additionally, if the unit is low on refrigerant, the compressor will work overtime to keep the home the correct temperature. It can overheat and cause the breaker to trip. Lastly, a compressor that has some age on it may need to be replaced. If it is malfunctioning, it can also cause the breaker to kick.
2. Dirty Air Filter
The air filter is vital to the overall functioning of the unit. If the air filter has not been changed in some time, it can become corroded with dirt and debris. The clogged filter will restrict the amount of air that the unit can intake to recirculate throughout the home. Ultimately, the AC unit must work harder than is should, which causes it to draw more amps. When the unit is drawing more amperage than the allotted breaker, the circuit will kick to prevent a fire.
3. Frozen Coils
During the summer months, many people try to turn their thermostat down to a level that their AC unit can never reach. For instance, if it is 90 degrees outside, setting your thermostat to 65 degrees is not going to help. While it may make the home cooler, it will cause the AC unit to run non-stop. See, the AC unit cannot realistically get your home to that temperature. The average unit will be able to reach 20 degrees below the outside temperature. You can expect your AC unit to be able to reach about 70 degrees. If your unit is running non-stop, it can cause ice to form on the evaporator coils. A unit under stress backs up and causes this condition. When you see ice on your unit, don’t try to turn it back on. Call a professional immediately.
Knowing When To Get Help
An AC unit is imperative to keep the home comfortable. However, just like a vehicle, they require maintenance to run efficiently. Preventative maintenance sessions can quickly identify any issues that need to be replaced. Consequently, if your breakers are kicking on a frequent basis and you don’t know the reasons why, then you need professional help.
Charlie Teschner started MESA Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in 1982. Charlie has a journeyman and master plumber’s license. He was raised with a strong work ethic and he now applies those values to tasks such as Longmont, CO heating repair.
September 20, 2016