Why Do Air Conditioners Blow Fuses?

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One of the most aggravating—and rather common—issues with cooling systems involves the AC system tripping the breaker or blowing a fuse in the electrical control box when it cycles on. Repeatedly running the fuse box and changing the fuse is not only cumbersome and time consuming, but likely also a sign of a greater problem with your cooling system or your electrical circuits.

This type of problem is not something you want to fool around with yourself! When it comes to HVAC electrical problems, you want a skilled HVAC technician.

Common Reasons for Blown HVAC Fuses

There are several reasons why your air conditioning system keeps blowing a fuse. Some of the most common problems are:

  • Low refrigerant.If the refrigerant level is low, your AC system must work harder. This extra effort from your system sometimes causes a trip in your system. If the refrigerant is low, you could have a leak, which can be dangerous. If you think this is the case, you will want to call for AC repair quickly.
  • A problem with your fuse box, your circuit, and/or your central power supply.The most logical cause of your air conditioner tripping a breaker or blowing a fuse is when there is a bad electrical connection in the power supply, or the circuit that powers the system. Breakers and fuses are designed to trip or blow when too much voltage is sent through the line. Simply inserting a larger fuse is a recipe for disaster. You need to have a licensed technician get to the root of the problem to prevent any electrical overloads.
  • An issue with your cooling system’s capacitor. The capacitor is a part of the cooling system’s condenser. This small part helps to even out and regulate the electrical current as it flows through the condenser. A problem with this part is another reason for blown AC fuses.
  • Extreme temperatures and a dirty filter.A forth possibility is that high demand (i.e. high temperatures and humidity) is forcing your system to work harder to push conditioned air through a dirt-clogged HVAC filter, which in turn is putting extra pressure on the system and blowing the fuse. Occasionally, a dirty condenser coil can have a similar effect. It is best to schedule AC maintenance at the beginning of the warm weather season to avoid any such problems.

Can I DIY Fix a Blown AC Fuse or AC-Related Breaker Trip?

Electrical issues should be handled by a professional for safety reasons. Still, there are steps you can take to troubleshoot an air conditioner that keeps tripping a circuit breaker:

  1. Replace your air filter – A restriction in airflow caused by a clogged air filter will force your cooling system to struggle, which often leads to overheating and potential breaker trips. If your air filter is visibly dirty or has not been changed in a while, do it now.
  2. Clean all supply and return vents – Keeping your air vents free of dust and debris is important for the same reasons stated above. Additionally, be sure that no furniture, carpets, or window curtains are blocking vents.
  3. Check your outdoor unit – The fins that surround your outdoor unit can also become clogged usually with dirt, grass clippings and leaves. Clean these away by rinsing the condenser with a garden hose.
  4. Reset your breaker – Once all the above tasks are completed, reset your breaker (or swap your fuse, if your electrical system is older). If one of the listed potential causes was the culprit, your AC should run fine from now on.

Unsure if a DIY repair is right for you? Call a professional! We will diagnose your air conditioner and discuss what your AC repair or replacement options are. Call All Weather Mechanical, Inc., today (910) 554-3252!

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