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Discussion Starter #1
My AC isn't working. The unit was installed new in '01. It wants to work but it trips the breaker. It has never been serviced. In past years the breaker would trip in the mornings when the sun was shining on the compressor. This year that hasn't happened until now. When I first fired it up this year it tripped the breaker about 15 times before it started running but no problems after that until now. It is on a 20 amp breaker.

I'm a total idiot about AC systems. Any advise?
 

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..............Sounds like you might have an excessive amount of head pressure that the compressor motor has too over come to get itself going . The outside fan section removes the heat from the heat exchanger . There could be a safety switch on the blower section on the inside of your home that is being tripped which shuts down the compressor to prevent damage to it . Lots of overlapping redundency on these newer systems to prevent damage too one sectiuon when another section isn't functioning correctly . I'd call a repairman and let him put his gauges on your compressor and check the pressures . , fordy
 

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get a GOOD tech out and have him check it out, it is a possibility that the capacitor may be going out, or possibly by now, the motor windings could be burnt up. but it should have been checked out as soon as the breaker was starting to snap, what is happening some thing is either shorting out or not running efficient and causing the motor to over work and pull to much electrical power, there is a possibility the charge of refrigerant is over what it should be. could be a loose connection or a wire that is wore through and the heat expands or changes some thing that moves it,

IT is even possible it is a weak breaker, (I would replace the breaker regardless if it has tripped that many times) but with out an amp check of the system running you would never know.

HAVE IT CHECKED OUT BY SOME ONE WHO KNOWS THE SYSTEMS.

ANY TIME A BREAKER IS TRIPPING IT MEANS SOME THING IS WRONG !!!!!!!!!!!!
either the breaker is going, (some old breakers have been know to burst in to flames)

or the compressor or fan if on same circuit, is going bad or some part of it's electrical system,

or the wiring has some major problems,
 

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agmantoo
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Is this a dedicated circuit? If not it should be. For a central A/C that amperage seems a little small for the breaker. You need to get the data plate info and post same. If you are confident the breaker is the correct size for the A/C then you should install a new breaker. Circuit breakers are not as precise as most people perceive. (A fuse is very predictable.)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. The fan is on a different circuit and works fine.

I've thought about a bad breaker. The breaker has tripped in the heat since day one so if there is a problem in the system it has been there all along.
 

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Try washing (w/ garden hose), the condensing unit (the out side part), the sides where the coils are.
Careful not to get the fan motor too wet.(top)
Gets full of "stuff" and over heats and trips out the breaker or over load.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
agmantoo said:
Is this a dedicated circuit? If not it should be. For a central A/C that amperage seems a little small for the breaker. You need to get the data plate info and post same. If you are confident the breaker is the correct size for the A/C then you should install a new breaker. Circuit breakers are not as precise as most people perceive. (A fuse is very predictable.)
You could be right. Come to think of it when we installed the system we were looking for another 30 amp breaker and couldn't find one. Older box. Maybe I should check out ebay and see if I can find one.
 

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tinknal said:
You could be right. Come to think of it when we installed the system we were looking for another 30 amp breaker and couldn't find one. Older box. Maybe I should check out ebay and see if I can find one.

check the name plate rating and the wire size before changing to a larger Breaker, I would again suggest AGAIN to have the amp draw checked,
 

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agmantoo
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Compressors are hard to start. The locked rotor amps are high and the inrush dims the lights on most homes. The delivery circuit needs to match the load.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
farminghandyman said:
check the name plate rating and the wire size before changing to a larger Breaker, I would again suggest AGAIN to have the amp draw checked,
Will the nameplate state the needed wire size? I'm quite certain that the proper wire was used as it was professionally installed.
 

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agmantoo
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The data plate will give the draw of the A/C. Once that is known the size of the wire required can be determined.
 

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The name plate will tell you the amp draw you then need to consult a chart for wire size and so forth.
And before you go throwing a 30 amp breaker in the box, make sure the wire is sized for it. #10 or better.
 

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I'm a A/C guy. The outdoor unit should have fuses. Time delay slow blow fuses that will handle the starting amperage of the unit. The breaker in the house is sized larger and should not trip. Call for service. Sounds to me like it was not properly installed. Lots of contractors wire these units themselves to save paying an electrical contractor.
 

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If that's an outside compressor for a split system you are talking about, I really doubt that 20 amps is the right breaker for it, I've never seen one that small. They are usually at least 30 amps.

I would imagine somebody didn't have the right 30 amp breaker handy when they installed it and just stuck a 20 in. As mentioned, check the amperage requirements and the wiring before upgrading that breaker.

A 20 amp circuit uses 12 gauge wire over normal distances, a 30 amp circuit needs 10 gauge.
 
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