Circuit breakers play a key role in preventing fires and other damage to your home's electrical components, including your HVAC system. But what happens when your HVAC system constantly trips its designated circuit breaker? If you want to get to the heart of the problem, you'll need to know the most common reasons for your heating and cooling equipment to trip its circuit breaker.
Clogged Air Filter
Surprisingly, a clogged air filter is usually the most common cause of an HVAC system constantly tripping its circuit breaker. When your air filter is completely clogged with dust and debris, it causes your blower fan motor to draw more electricity in an attempt to overcome the additional air resistance. Eventually, it'll draw enough extra current to trip the circuit breaker. You can easily take care of this problem simply by changing your air filter on a regular basis.
Wiring shorts can occur when the wire insulation wears away or breaks down, usually due to chafing on a sharp surface or exposure to excess heat. A wiring short can cause sparks and current surges that eventually trip the circuit breaker. Your HVAC technician or electrician will be able to pinpoint the cause of the short and make the proper repairs.
A typical HVAC compressor can pull a large amount of electrical current during start-up. As it ages, cumulative wear and tear can make it more difficult to start up without drawing excess amounts of current. Your HVAC technician may install a "hard start kit" to reduce your compressor's current draw and reduce the likelihood of it tripping your circuit breaker.
Bad Starting Capacitor
A failing capacitor can not only make it harder to start your HVAC system, but it can also trip the circuit breaker. A bad capacitor can also pose a safety risk, since faulty capacitors tend to bulge and leak oil. If you suspect a bad capacitor, you should have your HVAC technician replace it as soon as possible.
Problems with the HVAC System's Circuit Breaker
In some cases, there might not be a problem with the HVAC system. Instead, there could be an issue with the actual circuit breaker itself. Like any other electrical component, circuit breakers require regular inspection and maintenance. It's not uncommon for circuit breakers to overheat or break during operation. Older circuit breaker panels can also prove unreliable with age. Your electrician will be able to check and, if necessary, replace the circuit breaker for your HVAC system or the entire circuit breaker panel.
For more information, contact local professionals like AAA Home Services.