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How to Reset an AC Circuit Breaker (4-Step Guide)

So, you’re dealing with a central air conditioning system that’s decided to take a little unscheduled break, huh? Well, don’t sweat it – literally.

I’m here to guide you through the steps to get it back up and running. It often starts with something as simple as your circuit breaker. Here are the steps:

  • Step 1: If your air conditioning stops working, the first place to check is the big box with all the switches – that’s your circuit breaker box.
  • Step 2: If one switch has popped out towards the edge, that’s your clue. It’s probably labeled ‘AC’ and is a bit bigger, taking up two switch slots.
  • Step 3: Once you find the switch popped out, push it in the opposite direction (the ‘off’ position), then flip it back towards the middle (the ‘on’ position).
  • Step 4: Watch if it reappears after you flip the switch back on. If it does, don’t keep flipping it. This could mean a bigger issue might need a professional to look at.

So, let’s walk through these steps together, and I’ll show you how to handle this like a pro!

How to Reset a Tripped Air Conditioner Circuit Breaker

Now, let’s dive into the steps necessary to troubleshoot and reset your AC’s circuit breaker. Follow along, and we’ll have that cool breeze flowing quickly!

Step 1: Check the Circuit Breaker Board

First, if your central air conditioning isn’t working, head over to your circuit breaker board. This is your starting point to diagnose the issue.

Step 2: Identify the Tripped Breaker

All the ‘on’ switches align towards the center post on a professionally installed circuit breaker board. A tripped circuit will stand out because its switch will be flipped outward, away from the center.

Look for the one labeled ‘AC,’ which usually occupies two slots due to being a 220-volt system.

Step 3: Reset the Tripped Breaker

Once you find the tripped breaker, push it to the off position first. Then, flip it back to the on position.

This action resets the breaker and, by extension, the electrical supply to your air conditioning unit.

Step 4: Monitor for Immediate Tripping

After resetting, observe the breaker. If it trips again immediately, refrain from attempting another reset. This could indicate a more serious issue that requires professional attention.

So, remember, if that breaker doesn’t stay put after one reset, it’s time to call in a pro. It’s not just about fixing an immediate problem; it’s about keeping your home safe and avoiding bigger issues down the line. Stay cool, stay safe, and when in doubt, get a professional to check it out!


Troubleshooting Tips: Navigating Common Hurdles in Resetting Your AC Circuit Breaker

A person is turning off a circuit breaker in an electrical panel

You’re ready to reset your AC circuit breaker — love that DIY energy! But let’s face it, sometimes it’s not all smooth sailing. No worries, though.

Based on what I’ve learned in the trenches, I’m here to guide you through some common snags you might hit and how to navigate them.

  • Breaker Won’t Reset: If your breaker isn’t resetting immediately, wait a few minutes. It might need time to cool off. Still not working? The breaker might be faulty or have a deeper electrical problem. Sometimes, breakers need a moment to reset. But there might be a bigger issue if it’s still not working.
  • Determining the Issue – Breaker or AC?: If the breaker trips again after you reset it, the problem could be with your AC unit. Check for odd noises, issues starting up, or ineffective cooling. If the AC seems fine, the issue could be with the breaker or the wiring.
  • AC Not Turning On After Reset: Ensure your AC unit is properly turned on after resetting the breaker. Recheck the connections and thermostat settings if they’re still not working. Often, the solution is as simple as flipping the thermostat switch back on.
  • Frequent Breaker Tripping: If your breaker keeps tripping, it could be due to an overloaded circuit or an issue with the AC unit. Check if you’ve added any new appliances that might be causing the overload.

If you’re unsure or feel unsafe, stop and call a professional. Electrical systems can be complex and dangerous. Never take risks with electrical systems. When in doubt, get a professional to take a look.


Maintenance Tips: Keeping Your AC and Circuit Breaker in Top Shape

Let’s talk about keeping your air conditioning and electrical system running smoothly. Here’s a straightforward table of maintenance tips based on my experiences in the field.

Maintenance TaskHow OftenTips
Check and Replace AC FiltersEvery 1-3 MonthsDirty filters can strain your AC unit, leading to inefficiency and tripping breakers. Regularly changing them keeps your system running smoothly.
Inspect AC Coils and FinsAnnuallyKeep the coils and fins clean. Dirty coils reduce efficiency and strain the system.
Test Circuit BreakersAnnuallyEnsure they flip on and off easily. It might be time for a replacement if they’re stiff or stuck.
Check the AC Unit’s Electrical ConnectionsAnnuallyLoose connections can cause short circuits. Tighten them up if needed, but always ensure the power is off first.
Professional AC ServicingEvery 1-2 YearsGet a professional to inspect and service your unit. They can spot issues you might miss.
Professional Electrical InspectionEvery 5 YearsHave an electrician inspect your home’s electrical system. This includes checking the breaker panel.

Remember, some maintenance can go a long way in preventing those unexpected breakdowns and keeping your home comfortable and safe.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I Reset the Breaker Right Away If It Trips?
    • Always wait a few seconds before resetting a tripped breaker. If it doesn’t stay reset, a bigger issue might be at play, and you should consult an electrician.
  • Is It Safe to Reset the AC Breaker Myself?
    • Yes, resetting your AC breaker yourself is generally safe if you follow the proper steps and take necessary safety precautions. However, don’t hesitate to contact a professional if you feel unsure.
  • How Do I Know If the Problem Is With My AC or the Breaker?
    • After resetting the breaker, if it trips again or your AC unit shows signs like not starting, making strange noises, or not cooling properly, the problem might be with the AC unit. In such cases, it’s best to seek professional help.
  • Should I Replace My Circuit Breaker If It Keeps Tripping?
    • Frequent tripping can indicate that your breaker is worn out and needs replacement. However, it’s best to have a professional diagnose the issue before deciding to replace it.
  • Can a Tripped Breaker Cause Damage to My AC?
    • Usually, a tripped breaker is a safety mechanism to prevent damage. However, if it trips often, it could indicate underlying issues with your AC that may lead to damage if not addressed.


References

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American Home Shield

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: 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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