When an appliance trips your home’s circuit breaker, it’s a sure sign that something is wrong. This kind of issue can crop up from time to time, but what if it’s your heat pump causing the problem? Without a working heat pump, the temperature of your home may not be as comfortable as you’d like. That’s why if your breaker trips as soon as you flip the switch of your heating system, you need to call a professional HVAC contractor who can identify the issue and perform a heat pump repair. In this article, we discuss why a heat pump keeps tripping breaker.
When Your Heat Pump Constantly Trips Your Breaker
- When Your Heat Pump Constantly Trips Your Breaker
- 1. Your Heat Pump Air Filter is Dirty
- 2. There are Heat Pump Wiring Problems
- 3. The Outdoor Fan Needs Fixing
- 4. The Heat Pump Compressor is Malfunctioning
- 5. The Heat Pump Condenser Coil is Dirty
- 6. Your Heat Pump is Overworked
- 7. Your Heat Pump Has a Short Circuit
- 8. Your Heat Pump is Low on Refrigerant
- Contact Point Bay Fuel For Your HVAC Needs
One main reason a heat pump unit trips a circuit breaker is that it draws too much power to operate properly. Several things can cause this:
1. Your Heat Pump Air Filter is Dirty
A filthy air filter can obstruct proper airflow. As a result, your home’s air quality decreases. In turn, your heat pump has to work harder and longer to circulate cooled and heated air throughout your home. This type of inefficiency means the heat pump draws significantly more amps, which causes the circuit breaker to trip. If your indoor vents are closed or blocked, it can also hinder airflow and cause the breaker to trip.
2. There are Heat Pump Wiring Problems
Your circuit breaker can also trip if your heat pump has wiring issues. Typically, there are three main reasons for electrical problems:
- A Short Circuit In Your Motor Fan: This happens when the electrical current doesn’t flow through its normal path. Shorts usually occur when the insulation around the wires deteriorates. The wires then receive too much power, which leads to the breaker tripping.
- Wiring That’s Worn-out Or Loose: When wires are loose or damaged in some way, they can draw too much power or heat and trip the circuit breaker.
- The Breaker Is Faulty: Normal wear and tear can cause an old circuit breaker to malfunction, which can result in constant tripping. If this is the case, you’ll need to hire a professional to inspect the fan heat pump and wiring and then either install new wires or repair degraded ones. A skilled HVAC technician can diagnose and fix wiring problems or provide a referral to an electrician if needed.
3. The Outdoor Fan Needs Fixing
Your heat pump’s outdoor fan can fail and cause your breaker to trip. The fan blows air over the refrigerant coils. If there’s an obstruction, the fan motor can lock up and malfunction. The result is that it may draw more power, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Therefore, it’s crucial to have it professionally maintained and cleaned regularly.
4. The Heat Pump Compressor is Malfunctioning
Think of the compressor at the heart of the heat pump. It’s an essential part of the heating and cooling process as its job is to pump the refrigerant throughout the system. During normal operation, it requires a lot of electric power to operate. However, certain issues can cause the compressor to draw too much power and trip the breaker. Multiple things can lead to compressor problems, including:
- Heat Pump Compressor That’s Hard To Start: Older compressors usually don’t fire up as easily as newer ones. This can lead to circuit breaker trips since a hard-starting compressor draws too much current from the circuit when starting.
- Compressor That’s Grounded: This means the wiring is touching the metal casing, effectively creating a short. The result is a tripped breaker.
- Fault With The Capacitor: The capacitor is a component that stores electrical energy and helps the compressor to start. If the device malfunctions, the compressor will have difficulty starting. If you find that your circuit breaker trips every time the outdoor unit starts up, a faulty capacitor is likely the problem.
Preventing these issues is as simple as routine maintenance by a professional. Besides being able to spot failing parts earlier, a certified HVAC technician can fix certain problems, such as compressor malfunctions. However, some problems are slightly more difficult to resolve. For example, since compressors are sealed tightly, technicians have a hard time repairing them. In cases where it’s impossible to fix the compressor, replacement is the only solution. Although a new compressor is expensive, it may still fall under your manufacturer’s warranty if the warranty is still valid. An HVAC technician can help you determine whether you need a replacement compressor and if it’s covered by your warranty.
5. The Heat Pump Condenser Coil is Dirty
The heat pump’s condenser is another part that will stop working efficiently if it becomes too dirty. The condenser coil gathers and releases heat, which either cools or heats your home. A dirty condenser coil means your heat pump must work extra hard to do its job properly and generate the same amount of heating or cooling. Regularly checking your unit can help you avoid this problem.
6. Your Heat Pump is Overworked
Clogged air filters, dirty outside units, and closed or blocked vents are all culprits of a heat pump that’s malfunctioning because it’s overworked. These issues are preventable, making it all the more important to have a licensed HVAC technician diagnose and repair issues during regular maintenance visits.
7. Your Heat Pump Has a Short Circuit
A short circuit will trip your breaker the moment you flip the switch of your unit. Short circuits are incredibly dangerous, which is why you should immediately call a licensed HVAC technician. Besides causing serious damage, short circuits can lead to a fire. In fact, a report by The National Fire Protect Agency reveals that fire departments across the United States were called to handle around 44,880 fires caused by electrical malfunctions each year between 2012 and 2016. Cooking and heating equipment were responsible for about 10% of those fires.
8. Your Heat Pump is Low on Refrigerant
Heat pumps use a liquid substance called “refrigerant” to cool and heat your home. When refrigerant levels are too low, which is generally caused by a leak, the heat pump cannot effectively warm or cool an area. To compensate, the heat pump works harder to reach the temperature you’ve set on your thermostat. Due to the additional stress on the system, components tend to draw more power and trip the breaker.
Again, to avoid an issue like low refrigerant levels, it’s crucial to establish a regular maintenance schedule for your heating system. Furthermore, you should contact an HVAC professional as soon as you notice your system’s refrigerant is leaking. A technician will use the right testing method to find the leak’s source and fix it. On the upside, when your circuit breaker trips because of heat pump issues, you know your breaker is functioning correctly since its job is to prevent an overload of electrical current. When a circuit breaker isn’t working properly, you run the risk of an electrical fire, which can result in bodily harm, fatalities, and property loss.
If your heat pump repeatedly trips your circuit breaker, it’s likely due to the air filter being dirty, wiring problems, your outdoor fan having issues, a malfunctioning compressor, a filthy condenser coil, your heat pump being overworked, short circuits, or a refrigerant leak. All of these causes are preventable as long as you have your system regularly maintained and cleaned by a professional. Hiring a reputable HVAC technician with the proper credentials to sort out any issues not only ensures your safety but also ensures your home is a comfortable, temperature-controlled environment.
Contact Point Bay Fuel For Your HVAC Needs
Point Bay Fuel offers top-notch heating and cooling services in Monmouth and Ocean County, New Jersey. We only hire the best-certified HVAC technicians who can tend to your every HVAC repair, tune-up, installation, and replacement need. Since our techs are properly trained and certified, they have the knowledge and experience required to correctly service your HVAC system.
At Point Bay Fuel, we guarantee you’ll get the most competitive HVAC service prices in the area. With our maintenance services, you’ll increase your home’s energy efficiency, reduce your cooling and heating costs, and improve your comfort. If your system requires HVAC repairs or a replacement system, we offer recommendations for the most suitable solutions for your home while keeping your budget in mind. Our work is backed by a satisfaction guarantee, so schedule your service appointment by calling Point Bay Fuel today. We provide free, in-home quotes.