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Electrical Trouble in Your AC Can Mean Tripped Circuit Breakers

stripped-electrical-wireWhenever an air conditioning system abruptly shuts down—the fan won’t come on, the compressor won’t come on—one of the first things we recommend homeowners check is their electrical panel. A tripped circuit breaker might have caused the air conditioning system to lose power. Resetting the breaker may solve the problem.

Or … the problem may come right back. If this is the case for your air conditioning system, there’s something else wrong, such as electrical trouble in the AC. You may need to have our professionals check on the system and repair it. Let’s look a bit further into this situation.

Why the Air Conditioning System May Have Tripped the Breaker

A breaker trips when there’s a voltage surge along its circuit. The breaker cuts off power to prevent damage to the electrical system. The source of the surge from an AC is usually the blower fan motor. A dirty air filter may be the reason the fan is suffering from enough stress to overheat and trip the breaker, so we recommend that you always check the filter to see if it needs to be changed. There are several electrical issues that also might be responsible:

  • Loose electrical connections: The connections inside the air conditioner can come loose, causing a short. (We always tighten these connections during maintenance to help avoid this.)
  • Bad capacitor: Capacitors are the components in an air conditioner that manage voltage flow to the motors, both to start them and keep them running. A failing capacitor often triggers voltage overload. HVAC professionals can replace bad capacitors before they completely fail.
  • Bad fan motor: Bad relays or wiring in the fan motor will rapidly cause voltage spikes. An overheated motor will also cause this problem, and if the overheating isn’t due to an external problem like a clogged filter, the motor needs to be replaced.

Calling in the Professionals

Although there are a few minor fixes you can make on your own, such as changing the air filter or clearing away any obstructions around the outside cabinet, in most tripped circuit breaker situations you don’t want to try to go DIY to repair it.

In fact, even diagnosing the specific problem behind tripped circuit breakers is difficult. The first thing our experts will do when they arrive at your home is find out what is behind the problem. If the AC doesn’t have an electrical issue, it may have lost refrigerant to leaks. The trouble might be inside the electrical panel itself with worn-down circuits. You may even need duct repair in Fresno, CA, since duct breaches can cause overwork on the blower motor that trips breakers.

If you have any doubts about what’s wrong with your air conditioning system, the best course of action is to go straight to the experts. Electrical repairs are potentially hazardous to you and your home if you try to do them yourself or give the job to amateurs. You can trust our trained and experienced technicians to ensure your air conditioning system is repaired correctly.

Schedule air conditioning service with Purl’s Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning: “Quality Is the Cornerstone of Our Success” since 1952.

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