Tripped Air Conditioner Breaker

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What everyone should know if you find your breaker to your air conditioner tripped.

A breaker for a motor of 1 horse power or less acts differently than a breaker for lights or receptacles. Breakers for lights and receptacles are designed to trip when the constant load reaches a level that may over heat the wires and cause a fire. So it is there to prevent over loads.

Breakers for Motors are over sized. They are not used as over load protection but as Ground Fault or Short Circuit protection. Both of these two problems are very dangerous. They are when the circuit has no resistance and allow the full voltage and current to pass through the wires unabated. Such a situation can be explosive. If you have ever seen a burnt electrical switch or device, where all the wires are melted, this is what can happen in a fraction of a second in a short circuit involving your air conditioner.

Resetting the breaker can create that very dangerous situation. The breaker can delay just long enough for the current to create an explosion at the breaker. This explosion can create injuries and even loss of life. So do not reset your air conditioner breaker if you find it tripped.

What can I do if my breaker is tripped?

The first thing you need to do is call your HVAC professional. They will identify the problem that created the tripped breaker and resolve that problem before resetting the breaker.

 

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