Electrical Question about a HVAC Unit That Trips The Circuit Breaker
How to Locate Problems with an HVAC System: Common Problems with HVAC, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Units
How to Troubleshoot an HVAC and Air Conditioner
Question: Last fall my HVAC unit worked fine, the heat worked fine.
- Now when I turn on the air unit it blows the breaker.
- As soon as you reset the breaker it blows immediately.
- Can you tell me what the problem might be.
Background: Fay, a Homeowner from Burlington, Iowa
Thanks for your electrical question Fay.
How to Locate Problems with an HVAC System
- Application: Troubleshooting – Testing Electrical Circuit Wiring.
- Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
- Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester or Continuity Tester.
- Estimated Time: Depends on experience and level of problem solving skills.
- Precaution: Testing live wires is dangerous and should be done by an experienced individual only. Testing using a continuity tester should only be made after the circuit has been identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Common Problems with HVAC, Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning Units
- Because the heat function of the HVAC unit works then It sounds like there is a problem with the air conditioning components or wiring to these components.
- There could be a problem in the area where the control relay is located.
- If the circuit breaker trips immediately that is typically an indication that there may be a direct short circuit to ground.
- An inspection of the controls area, junction box or wiring termination cabinet would be necessary to look for any visual indication of the cause or problem.
- When a unit such as this trips the circuit breaker immediately there will usually be visual indications of burnt or charred wiring in the area where the problem is.
- Another possibility is that the main wiring leading to the unit has been damaged somewhere between the electrical panel and the unit.
- There are several electrical testing methods that can be used to check each individual wire for continuity to ground or to another wire within the circuit to isolate and evaluate the problem further.
- Once the problem is discovered it will be necessary to find the cause and make the necessary repairs. This is where a qualified HVAC Service Technician will be required.
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