If your cooling system suddenly stops running, the first place to check is the electrical panel to see if the A/C is tripping the circuit breaker. Breakers are essential safety features designed to trip if a circuit overloads to halt the flow of current and to avert an electrical fire. If the air conditioner breaker is hot to the touch, it should be replaced by a licensed electrician. If not, a spike in the A/C’s amp draw has likely overloaded the circuit and tripped the breaker.
There are two common issues that can cause an A/C to draw more amps, and they’re easy to troubleshoot and fix yourself:
- Check for a clogged air filter. If you’ve neglected regular replacements, a badly clogged air filter may be cutting off crucial airflow and overworking the cooling system.
- Examine the outdoor coil. If you don’t hose it off periodically, a dirt accumulation may be preventing critical heat transfer and increasing the A/C’s workload.
After you change the air filter and gently hose off the condenser coil, reset the A/C’s breaker. If it trips again almost immediately, it’s safer not to reset it again. Instead, call an experienced HVAC contractor to investigate the cause of the problem. A thorough system inspection can uncover one of several possible reasons for an increase in amp draw that trips the circuit breaker, such as:
- A defective condenser fan. A malfunctioning fan can’t do its job of cooling the outdoor coil, which can interfere with heat transfer and put added strain on the A/C.
- Low refrigerant. If refrigerant is slowly leaking out, the A/C has to work harder to cool the home and the breaker can trip.
- Leaky valves. If its valves are leaking, the compressor will draw more amps as it struggles to properly pressurize refrigerant.
- A bad capacitor. If the cooling system doesn’t start easily and the breaker trips when it does cycle on, a blown compressor capacitor may be the culprit.
For expert help determining why the A/C is tripping the circuit breaker in your Indianapolis home, contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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