If you frequently find yourself resetting the circuit breaker when your heating or cooling system is running, it is important to take action immediately in order to prevent expensive repairs and potentially dangerous results.

What’s going on? 

When your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker, it’s drawing in more electricity than the breaker can handle—the breaker trips to protect you from over currents that can damage equipment or, in extreme cases, cause fires. There are various reasons why a circuit breaker trips when your HVAC system is running, so getting a professional opinion is important. However, it never hurts to be well-informed before your technician arrives or to try out a few simple things to see if you can resolve the issue yourself.

What are the potential causes?

Dirt and debris buildup can cause your heating or cooling system to be overworked and use more energy to produce the same results

Dust and Debris

There are multiple components within a system that, when dirty, can cause your circuit breaker to trip. Dirt and debris buildup can cause your system to be overworked and use more energy to produce the same results. The increase in electric power needed to run your system can be over the capacity your circuit breaker can handle.


  • Air filter:

If you know the correct type of filter to buy for your system, you can change the filter yourself. If the air filter looks gray, this is an easy fix to try before taking further action. Be sure to check your system’s manual, or consult a professional, if you are not sure which filter to select. If you have chosen a filter that purifies small particles to help with respiratory concerns, these types of filters need to be changed more frequently. They are more likely to be the cause of your circuit breaker tripping in comparison to traditional filters that can last several months.


  • Ductwork:

Dirty ductwork can cause the same issue as a dirty filter. In fact, if your filter is getting dirty too quickly, this may be the culprit. Try using the hose on your vacuum to clean your ducts and wipe down your vents. If your ducts are especially dirty, you may have to consider having them professionally cleaned.


  • Outdoor unit:

Dirt or other debris, such as leaves, acts as an insulator, and prevents the outdoor unit from dispersing heat, causing it to draw too much electricity in an attempt to release the heat, and thus tripping the breaker. It is essential to get an HVAC technician to properly clean the outside unit as improper cleaning can cause damage to the condenser coil.


Circuit Breaker Malfunction

Sometimes circuit breaker wires get loose, or their insulation breaks down. Other times some breakers themselves might not last long. Regardless, an AC repair technician can help find the source of the shortage.

If your HVAC Compressor malfunctions this can cause your circuit breaker to trip.

HVAC Compressor Malfunction

One of the most essential parts to your air conditioner is the compressor. As it ages, the flow of electricity between the circuit and the fan can be affected. If the air conditioner is “hard starting” (when your AC unit starts to turn on but then shuts off suddenly), you will need to call a professional to evaluate the issue. The entire compressor may need to be replaced in this case.


Whatever the cause is, it is important not just keep resetting a tripped breaker. Dealing with the underlying issue can ensure your safety as well as your comfort level.


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If your question still needs answering or you’d like to schedule a consultation, contact the friendly team at Genove Oil & Air, and we’ll help you find the right solution for your home or business.


Whether you need home heating oil or Bioheat delivery, or installation and service of oil & natural gas systems for HVAC, heating, and cooling—call us at 781-893-9191 or email us.