How to Reset an AC Circuit Breaker (4 Steps)

If your ac doesn’t work, it might need a circuit breaker reset. Here’s how to do it.

Air conditioning systems are complicated machines that require several items to prevent overload and damage to the inner mechanism.

Those items are directly connected to the electrical system of the building in which they are installed. Through the electrical system, they receive signals and sense when there is an issue. When that happens, they cut the power to protect the electrical wiring.

Quick Summary of What Well Cover – how To Perform an Air Conditioner Reset via The Circuit Breakers:

  • Shut off the air conditioning unit
  • Access the circuit breaker box
  • Wait for sixty seconds
  • Turn the air conditioner back on

I’ll go into more detail below.

A Few Notes on the Air Conditioning System and the Circuit Breakers

The air conditioning unit includes two circuit breakers, one on the breaker box and one inside the mechanism.

The two breakers consist of a safety measure. They protect the air conditioning unit from shutting down unexpectedly.

The circuit breaker’s use is to cut the power and shut off a device.

It constantly receives a certain amount of electrical power depending on its maximum amperage capacity. When the current undergoes surges and other electrical malfunctions (i.e., shortages and grounding), the breaker is designed to trip.

Thus, the electrical system and the device to which the breaker connects shut off automatically and remain protected.

How to Reset a Tripped Air Conditioner Circuit Breaker

A breaker trips when the electrical system undergoes a shortage.

The shortage can be caused by a variety of issues, such as:

  • Clogged air filters
  • Dirty condenser coils
  • Loose wiring
  • Frozen evaporator coil
  • Refrigerant leaks
  • Compressor failure

As well as a power surge in the area (i.e., due to a thunderstorm)

Step 1: Shut the AC Off

Your first step has to be shutting off the air conditioning unit.

To do so, you can find in your user’s manual where the air conditioner on and off switch is. It would be best to deactivate the thermostat before turning off the air conditioning system.

That will allow you to perform the process of resetting the tripped circuit breaker without any electrical hazards.

Step 2: Access the Circuit Breaker Box

before and after turning off/on the circuit breaker panel
Video | AccessHeating

The next step would be finding your breaker box.

Inside you will see a series of circuit breakers. You will have to spot the breaker connected to the air conditioning unit. Once you find it, you need to turn it off.

Here is a list of common locations where you may find a circuit breaker panel in a home:

  1. Utility room
  2. Basement
  3. Closet
  4. Kitchen
  5. Garage
  6. Laundry room
  7. Exterior wall
  8. Utility shed

Keep in mind that the location of the circuit breaker panel may vary depending on the specific layout of the home and local building codes and regulations. You may need to contact a licensed electrician for assistance if you cannot find the panel in any of these common locations.

Step 3: Wait for Sixty Seconds

All you need to do now is wait for 60 seconds.

During this time, the AC will begin resetting on its own. You do not need to do anything else but wait. However, it is wise to inform all people in the house that you will be switching off the air conditioner circuit breaker.

This step is important because it allows the air conditioner unit to cool down and reset the breaker safety switch.

Step 4: Turn the AC On Again

before and after turning on the AC breaker
Video | AccessHeating

After the suggested period, the AC should be ready and reset.

You can now activate the thermostat and the AC unit. It would be best if you examined that the air from the AC is properly cooled to ensure that your AC works properly.

Note that you may need to reset the thermostat to your preferred temperature.

When Should You Call a Technician?

When a circuit breaker trips, it rarely is a good sign.

As mentioned above, the causes of circuit breaker tripping can be linked to the inner mechanism of the air conditioner. If you notice that the AC’s circuit breaker trips multiple times in a very short period, it might be time for you to call a technician.

Sometimes, fixing the air conditioning unit might only consist of an air conditioner coil cleaning.

If your air conditioner is in good condition, the circuit breaker tripping might also derive from your electrical system’s function. A technician can look for potential malfunctions and bad wirings inside the electrical system and help you repair them.

It is crucial to remember that constant circuit breaker tripping may also create hazards for the electrical system, the unit, and the people in the building.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

chrvoje engineering

Green Residential


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About Sam Orlovsky

b1d87d2ee85af3e51479df87928bdc88?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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