Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping – It May Be Your HVAC

As a homeowner, you’ve probably experienced a power overload a time or two. You plug something in, turn something on, and poof, you’ve tripped the circuit breaker. No power to that zone in your house. 

It’s annoying at best. But it could also be a sign that you have a problem somewhere in your system. Could it be your HVAC?

“But it never did that before…” We hear that a lot. And we get it. How could something work for months – years – and then it causes a problem one day? 

Maybe you’ve introduced a new appliance that overloaded the system. Maybe the wiring is damaged – did you hang a new picture and a nail spliced through a wire? Maybe a device or wiring is suddenly faulty – age can do that to anything. 

When a furnace trips the circuit breaker, it can be caused by many things. Try resetting it. If it works again without trouble, you’re probably fine. But if it keeps tripping, that’s when it’s time to call in a professional. Your furnace may have been damaged by a temporary power outage, or even a thunderstorm. The most common problems include an overloaded furnace, a short circuit from within the furnace, or even circuit breaker problems. 

Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping - It May Be Your HVAC

If a circuit breaker keeps tripping, do not keep resetting it. Circuit breakers are safety devices designed to tell you something is wrong. By resetting it, you’re ignoring the safety precautions. 

Circuit breakers prevent too much electrical current passing through the wires. Ultimately, they prevent a fire in one of the zones in your home. 

HVAC breakers are dedicated circuits that only power up your heating and cooling system. Most breakers are 15-amp breakers, which means 15-amps of electricity flow through it. If it’s more, it trips the circuit to prevent overheating. 

What can cause an overload?

An overloaded furnace – if it’s working harder than it normally does, it can pull additional current from the circuit. It could be a malfunctioning part, or a restriction somewhere in the ductwork. A full inspection can find and correct the problem. 

An overloaded shared circuit – HVAC equipment should have its own circuit. If your older home isn’t up to code, it could still exist on a shared circuit. Simply plugging in a new appliance to the shared circuit could cause the HVAC equipment to overload. 

Short circuit – an electrical short can damage the wiring. Short circuits happen when a bare hot wire connects with a neutral wire. A ground fault can occur when a bare hot wire touches a ground wire. Both can require updates to your wiring, a job best left to the professionals. 

Circuit breaker problems – like other equipment, your circuit breaker box will only last for so long before it needs replacing too. 

If you notice any changes to the way your HVAC equipment works, call in one of our technicians today. Stay safe. 

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