Using and Maintaining HVAC Systems in Rental Properties

Tripped AC Breaker? 3 Troubling Signs That You Shouldn't Ignore

When temperatures soar, your air conditioning unit has to work harder and harder to keep your home cool. Sometimes the job is just too much, and your unit will overheat, tripping the circuit breaker. If this occurs on a particularly hot day or at a time when your air conditioning has been running continuously, you probably don't have anything to worry about. You can reset the circuit breaker and carry on with your life. However, if you notice any of the following troubling signs, you should stop using your unit and call your HVAC company immediately. 

Heat and Damage

After your breaker trips, you should inspect your electrical panel for any signs of damage before flipping the switch back on. If you notice any of the following, do not turn power back on to your unit. 

  • Burnt smell
  • Hot breaker
  • Charred wires
  • Detached or frayed wires

Any one of these points to a major safety concern that should be addressed immediately. In fact, these symptoms may indicate that your breaker is failing, which means it will not prevent a potential fire if your electrical wires were to overheat. 

Instant Shut Off

If everything looks and smells OK, you can turn your unit back on by flipping the circuit breaker into the "on" position. Wait and listen for your unit to start up. If the circuit immediately flips back off as soon as the unit starts to hum, you have problems. Something is wrong with your unit and it is dangerous to operate. Never ignore a circuit breaker that trips suddenly and instantly. Call a licensed electrician or HVAC technician immediately. In the meantime, leave the circuit breaker in the "off" position. 

Continuous Issues

If your AC unit runs for a while after you flip the circuit breaker back on before shutting off again, you likely have something wrong with your unit that is making it work harder than it has to. While a unit will continue to operate even if it has some issues, it will not work efficiently and may overheat, causing the circuit breaker to trip. The fix might be as simple as changing your air filter or adding some refrigerant, or you may need a new compressor or capacitor. Whatever the issue is, you must have your unit evaluated by a technician if your circuit breaker keeps tripping. 

As you can see, there are several reasons why your circuit breaker might trip. Some of them are harmless whereas some of them are potential fire hazards. For this reason, you should never take a tripped circuit breaker lightly. If you're having any of this issues with your AC unit, contact an electrician as well as a company like Perry Heating Cooling.