Air conditioner breaker trips can be either be readily resolved, or require professional attention from an Chicago air conditioning technician. In this blog, we will explore the possible causes of breaker trips. But before we launch into why your air conditioner trips the circuit breaker, we want to explain how an air conditioning split system differs from a single system, concerning breaker trips.

Split systems feature two separate voltage circuits, each with a separate breaker. One breaker is connected to the air handler, the other to the condenser. Different issues will cause one or the other breaker to trip; however, it is seldom the case both breakers will trip simultaneously. Power outages, lightening, a faulty transformer, or brown-outs could possibly cause both breakers to trip at once.

What Does It Mean When a Breaker Keeps Tripping?

Maintenance of your central air conditioning system is a common reason for breaker trips. Condenser coils that have been allowed to build up grime force the air conditioning to use more power. Instead of cooling, the power-rise causes heat to increase. The outcome is the A / C circuit keeps tripping, due to an overloaded circuit. Air filters covered in dirt also cause breaker trips.

Make a determined effort to check, clean (if necessary), and in the case of filters, replace them. Keeping your condenser coils and air filters well-maintained will help lower your power bills and decrease the likelihood your air conditioning circuit keeps tripping.


Faulty or non-functioning capacitators are another source of air conditioning circuit breaker trips. Two types of capacitators are manufactured: run and start.

A run capacitator is used in all air conditioner motors as well as the compressor. The start capacitator only operates the compressor. Capacitators can blow, causing breaker trips.

Mechanical Issues

Faulty bearings or a jammed part can interfere with the air conditioner motor’s operation. The motor will end up working overtime to counter the resistance, caused by malfunctioning bearings or stuck components. This will cause a surge in the electrical current, producing more heat. In time, the air conditioner breaker will trip.

Electric Connections

Loosened wires occurring in any component in the central air conditioner will lead to breaker trips. An example of how this can happen is with the air compressor. Wire corrosion of the compressor results in loosened wires, and the connection is weakened. This problem can be avoided with regular inspection and maintenance visits by an air conditioning professional.

Short Cycling

During short cycling, the air conditioning motor turns on and off frequently. What happens here is the motor starts from a complete standstill to operating at full capacity instantly. During this very quick startup the motor will set off a surge of electricity, going into overdrive. The increase in heat to counter the inertia the motor’s full stop has created will possibly cause a breaker trip.

Wire Size

If the wire size is not correct that also will lead to breaker trips of your air conditioner.


If your central air conditioning system is not correctly installed, breaker trips may be in its future. All installations must be performed by a certified HVAC contractor. They understand the installation must conform to the safety codes embedded in the National Electrical Code and the Mechanical Code.

After the air conditioner installation is completed, the air conditioning contractor must contact a municipal inspector, specified by law, to make sure all safety codes have been adhered to. Having this required inspection done will go a long way towards averting breaker trips of your air conditioner.

Why Does the Air Conditioner Reset Button Keep Tripping?

The A / C breaker tripped and won’t reset? The reason is when breaker trips don’t respond to being reset it indicates an underlying problem of a serious nature. Call an air conditioner professional to come out and find out why your A / C circuit breakers keep tripping.

Caution: a final note here to not reset the air conditioning breaker after a few tries.