Learning, Breaker,

Which Breaker is for The AC?

A circuit breaker prevents appliances from short-circuiting and overloading. 

The AC breaker is found in your home’s breaker box. Most air conditioner units use a double pole circuit breaker. There are cases where the breaker may be connected to other components of the home’s HVAC system. The AC circuit breaker can also be the circuit breaker for the furnace and thermostat. 

Learn how to identify the air conditioner circuit breaker by reading below. 

Locating the AC Circuit Breaker

The breaker box contains all the circuit connections of your household. 

Most properties have the breaker box located in the garage or basement. It is a small metal box containing all the property’s circuit breakers. The circuit breakers are switches that automatically trip to turn off the electrical connection if the excess current is detected. 

Depending on the type of HVAC system used by your household, the AC circuit breaker might be connected to other temperature-related devices like the thermostat and furnace. 

Single Breaker HVAC Systems

As the name implies, a single-breaker HVAC system uses one circuit breaker for all components. 

This means air conditioning, heating, and thermostats are all interconnected. This is usually the case for small air conditioner units since they’re less energy intensive. It’s not possible to only turn off the air conditioner’s breaker. Turning off this breaker will turn off the entire HVAC system. 

Locating the AC breaker is an easy task for single-breaker HVAC systems. 

Since the air conditioning breaker is the same as the other components, you need to switch off each breaker until the property’s HVAC system powers down. Label the breaker once you find it. This will save you the trouble of locating it next time. 

Multiple Breakers HVAC Systems

HVAC systems usually use different circuit breakers for each component. 

You’ll need to check each breaker to see which one corresponds to the air conditioning. You can narrow down your search by starting with the double pole breakers. Double pole circuit breakers are usually used for most air conditioners. A double pole breaker looks like two single pole breakers connected by a long switch. 

By testing the thermostat, you can check whether your air conditioning unit is turned off. 

The thermostat draws power from the air conditioner. It will automatically turn off once the air conditioning switch is turned off. Once found, label the switch for the AC to make searching for it easier. 

How to Reset a Tripped AC Breaker

A circuit breaker trips when it automatically switches itself off. 

This is done in response to the excess current flowing through the circuit. A circuit breaker tripping will cut off the connection to avoid overloading or overheating the circuit. This prevents further damage to the circuit and involved appliances. 

Turn off and unplug all the appliances in the room where the source of the trip is located. Head to the breaker box, and ensure the area is dry before opening it. Locate the air conditioner’s breaker. Flip the circuit breaker safety switch to the “ON” position and wait for it to start up. The switch should remain in the “ON” after flipping it. 

The air conditioner circuit breaker can trip again during the start-up period. 

Don’t try to reset it if the circuit breaker trips again. This indicates that there’s still excessive current flowing through the air conditioner. Wait a few minutes for the electricity to dissipate before trying again. Call a certified electrician if the breaker still trips after doing so. 

Ensure that the area is dry before opening up the breaker box. 

Exposure to moisture can cause the entire breaker box to short circuit. You can avoid this by drying your hands before touching the circuit breakers. You can also wear rubber gloves and safety glasses to protect against sudden electrical discharges. 

Don’t hesitate to call an electrician if you feel that’s something wrong with the circuit. 

Reasons Why Your AC Breaker Tripped

The air conditioner circuit breaker can trip due to several reasons.

Insufficient electric supply is the leading reason why air conditioner breakers suddenly trip. 

The air conditioner will attempt to draw more power from the outlet. This causes excessive current to flow through the breaker – prompting it to trip. You can avoid this issue by providing enough power to handle the amp rating of the AC unit. 

Another possible issue is dirty air filters in the air conditioner. 

ac filters
Video | Scotty Does

A dirty air filter restricts air from circulating through the unit. This causes the temperature of the unit to rise. The circuit breaker will trip if it detects too much heat. Check the air filter to see if it needs cleaning. An air filter dirty needs to be cleaned every 1 to 2 months. Regular maintenance will help your unit provide affordable quality air conditioning. 

The circuit breaker tripping repeatedly is a clear sign that You should examine the air conditioner for any issues. You can check the unit yourself or enlist the help of an air conditioner repair services. The latter is recommended if you’re unfamiliar with air conditioner electrical components. 

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

Video References

Circuit Breaker Wholesale

Scotty Does

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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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