Why does my AC Breaker keep Tripping?

Published on: February 22, 2013

If you find yourself asking, “Why does my AC Breaker keep tripping?” more often than not, you may have an electrical issue that needs addressing. There are several reasons why your air conditioner could be drawing more electrical current than it should – the most common being a refrigerant loss, which causes the compressor to work harder. Circuit breakers protect your home’s electrical system from overloading; however, major appliances such as air conditioners can pull too much current and result in triggered circuit breakers.

If your air conditioning unit’s AC breaker only trips once in a while, the cause may be an occasional power outage. If the breaker constantly trips, there may be a problem somewhere along the circuit. While you can replace a breaker yourself, it may be best to call in a professional to do the job right.

Air Conditioner Units

Your air conditioner has two primary parts: a fan and the compressor providing the cooling. Because your compressor draws much more power, it is usually the culprit when your circuit is overloaded. Have a professional inspect your unit to determent if the compressor has been compromised, and to make needed air conditioner repairs.

Central Air Conditioning

If your central air unit keeps tripping a breaker, this indicates an issue with your wiring and it should be inspected by an HVAC professional. Central air usually has its own circuit that is specifically equipped to handle the load.

Voltage Issues

If your air conditioning system’s circuit breaker is not capable of handling the power load, it will repeatedly trip the breaker and the unit will not operate. Open the breaker box and examine the air conditioner’s breaker switch. If the toggle switch is set to the “Off” position, or center, the breaker has been tripped. This means that the electrical circuit is open, which will prevent electricity from going to the unit. To determine if your breaker would benefit from an upgrade, make an appointment for local AC services.

Device Overload

When you plug too many devices into your air conditioner’s power outlet, you risk overloading the breaker, which will cause it to trip. To eliminate this problem, ensure that the only device plugged into the outlet is the air conditioner.


When a thunderstorm produces lightning, it might knock out your electricity. To prevent power surges from damaging electronic components, a breaker will be tripped. When you reset the tripped breaker, the fan will operate as usual, unless the unit’s plug safety mechanism has also been tripped. Press the “Reset” button and then turn the air conditioner on.

Power Surges

If the power source to your house is compromised, it will cause power surges to the breaker box, and trip the breakers. This problem should be addressed by an electrician.

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