Circuit breakers are the safeguards that prevent damage to your air conditioner as well as your electrical system. A circuit breaker continuously senses electrical current on each individual circuit to detect overloads, as well as short circuits. If one occurs, the breaker automatically disconnects electricity to the circuit to prevent damage to the component and to the home’s wiring.
A central air conditioner cooling an average size home draws about 12 amps of electricity at 220 volts, while the powerful AC compressor is running. Most central air conditioners utilize two circuit breakers: One installed in the home’s indoor breaker panel protects inside AC components, including the air handler and the blower fan. Another circuit breaker in a box mounted on an exterior wall near the outdoor central AC unit protects the high-voltage compressor and other parts such as the condenser fan.
When a Breaker Trips
If an AC circuit breaker trips for any reason, the result will be hard to miss: The air conditioner stops and will not restart. If a tripped circuit breaker is suspected, here’s what to do to try to restore cool comfort:
- Check the two AC circuit breakers. If either has tripped, the switch that should be in the “On” setting will instead appear halfway between on and off.
- Move the switch in the tripped breaker to the “Off” position and leave it off. Also, go to the other AC circuit breaker and switch it to the “Off” position as well. Leave both breakers off for at least three minutes.
- Check the thermostat to verify that the temperature setting is correct. Then, switch both AC circuit breakers back to the “On” position. Air-conditioner compressors often include a reset delay, so you might have to wait up to 15 minutes before the AC unit will restart.
- If the system does not restart — or if it starts but soon trips the breaker again — discontinue further do-it-yourself efforts and contact a qualified HVAC contractor for professional AC service immdediately.
For qualified service to deal with AC issues, including tripped circuit breakers, contact the certified technicians at Jackson & Sons.