Air conditioning (AC) failures can take a variety of forms, but few are as frustrating as a system that seems to shut off at random times. Often, a compressor that shuts down suddenly has tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse. If your compressor trips a breaker once or twice, it might not be a cause for concern. If it happens repeatedly, however, then you may have a deeper issue. Breakers generally trip when the circuit is overloaded or when a fault (a short circuit or ground fault) is detected. For air conditioning systems, there are several possible reasons that this may be happening.
Although it is not exceptionally common, the wiring inside of your outdoor unit can sometimes suffer damage that leads to faults. These faults can occur when insulation wears away from a wire or when an animal or piece of debris enters the unit. Wires that have broken entirely will often stop your air conditioning from functioning at all, but worn wires may only lead to intermittent problems. As bare copper comes into contact with metal or with another live wire, it produces a fault which will immediately trip your breaker. Wiring faults should always be repaired by a trained professional.
Internal Compressor Problems
Faulty wiring is the most likely cause of a fault within the outdoor unit, but power surges can also cause your breaker to trip. When an appliance on a circuit attempts to draw too much power, your breaker flips off to prevent damage to your home or electrical system. Your compressor will not try to draw too much electricity under normal circumstances, but a failing compressor motor can cause sudden spikes in power usage. When this happens, your breaker will cut power to the unit, and your AC system will shut down. Replacing a compressor is not a job for the faint-hearted, so it usually best to have an HVAC technician deal with a faulty compressor.
Thankfully, not every breaker-tripping AC unit is suffering from an internal problem. Neglected maintenance tasks can occasionally cause an AC unit to draw too much juice from its circuit, tripping the breaker and leaving you with a warm and humid home. If you suspect that maintenance issues are the problem, then check your filter first. A clogged up filter can potentially cause the blower motor to overheat and blow the circuit. Restricted filters can also result in a frozen evaporator, forcing the compressor to work harder than usual and draw more current from its circuit. It is also a good idea to check the outdoor unit for debris that may be causing the outdoor blower to overwork itself.
Whatever the cause of your AC-related electrical issues, you should never continue to use an AC system that is causing electrical faults. A skilled HVAC technician will be able to diagnose the root cause of the problem and repair it safely. To learn more about air conditioning repairs, contact an HVAC contractor in your area.Share