The nightmare scenario for an air conditioning system is for it to abruptly stop working in the middle of a hot summer. Fortunately, there are some cases where the situation isn’t as drastic as it may seem at first. Sometimes, the problem is a tripped circuit breaker. Always check the electrical panel when your AC suddenly shuts down. Reset any tripped breaker and turn the system back on again.
If your air conditioner continues to cause its circuit breaker to trip—well, then you have a bigger problem. The trouble might be loose wiring in the electrical panel, or it could come from something wrong with the AC itself.
Below are three possible reasons for an air conditioner to start giving the electrical system reason to panic:
1. Dirty Outdoor Coils
The condenser coils in the outdoor cabinet will struggle to release enough heat to the outside of the house if they have a layer of dirt and grime over them. This will increase the heat inside the air conditioning system, forcing it to work harder. The rise in the draw on the electrical system can lead to a tripped circuit breaker. (Don’t try to clean the coils yourself; this requires professionals with special chemical cleaners.)
2. Shorted-out motors
Motors are responsible for running the fans and the compressor in the AC. Like any motor, they can overheat and melt the insulation along their wires. The motor will short out, tripping a circuit breaker to prevent an electrical fire. Repair technicians will need to replace the shorted-out motor.
3. Hard-starting compressor
A compressor is said to be “hard-starting” if it starts requiring too much electrical power to overcome pressure at the start of its cooling cycle. The drain on amps can trip the circuit breaker. To overcome this problem, technicians will attach a hard-start kit to the compressor that delivers the necessary extra electrical power when it starts.
Raleigh Heating & Air, Inc. has served Knightdale, NC and all of Wake Country for over 20 years.