Heat Pump Keeps Tripping Breaker

image of a breaker box depicting a heat pump keeps tripping breaker

It is never good when any of your appliances begin tripping your circuit breaker. It is particularly a big issue if the heat pump is causing the problem because it also affects your comfort at home. Call a professional HVAC contractor right away if your heat pump keeps tripping breaker whenever you turn it on. They should be able to identify the problem and repair it.

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Why Does A Heat Pump Keep Tripping The Circuit Breaker?

A heat pump that’s tripping the circuit breaker on startup likely draws too much power to operate. The typical reasons behind this problem are:

Dirty HVAC Air Filter

hvac air filter replacement for a central heat pump

A dirty air filter hinders the airflow in the heat pump. As a result, the indoor air quality suffers, and the heat pump works harder and longer to distribute cooled or heated air throughout your home. The heat pump also becomes inefficient, drawing too many amps and tripping the circuit breaker. This can also happen if you have blocked or closed indoor vents around your home. The tripping is caused by the same issue, which is obstructed airflow.

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Heat Pump Wiring Issues

faulty heat pump wiring

Wiring problems can cause the circuit breaker to trip. The electrical problems that can lead to the tripping of your circuit breaker are:

  • Short fan motor – Electrical shorts arise when the electricity goes around its usual path. Insulation deterioration around the wires is the typical culprit behind fan motor shorts. This causes the wire to receive more power than it can handle, tripping the circuit in the process.
  • Worn-out or loose wiring – Loose or worn-out wires can pull in too much power or heat, causing the breaker to trip.
  • Faulty breaker – Old circuit breakers have a higher chance of malfunctioning because of normal wear and tear. This can be what’s constantly tripping your circuit. Contact a professional to sort out the wiring problems and check the wiring and fan heat pump. They can conduct the necessary repairs or install new wires. A professional HVAC technician can do these, or they can refer you to a professional electrician to diagnose the wiring issues and fix them.
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Outdoor Heat Pump Fan Problems

The heat pump’s outdoor fan could be causing the circuit breaker to trip. This component blows air over the refrigerant coils of the heat pump. If the fan motor malfunctions or becomes obstructed, it can lock up. The motor might draw more power, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Ensure that your heat pump receives professional maintenance and regular cleaning to prevent obstructions and malfunctions.

Heat Pump Compressor Malfunction

heat pump compressor

The compressor acts like the heat pump’s “heart.” Its job is to pump the refrigerant throughout the system, making it crucial for the cooling or heating process. It requires a lot of electrical power to do this vital function. However, specific issues can cause the compressor to draw too much power, so the circuit breaker trips. Common compressor problems that cause the breaker to trip are:

  • Hard-starting compressor – An old compressor might be harder to start. The circuit breaker can trip when the hard-starting compressor draws too much power when starting.
    Grounded compressor – The compressor’s electrical wiring might touch the metal casing, creating a short that trips the breaker.
  • Bad capacitor – This electrical component helps the compressor to start. A malfunctioning capacitor may be harder for the compressor to start. A breaker that trips when an outdoor unit starts could be a problem.

Prevent these issues when you get professional routine maintenance. A certified HVAC technician can find the failing component earlier and tell you in advance. A technician can repair some compressor issues, but some can be a challenge to resolve. For example, compressors are usually tightly sealed, so it is hard for technicians to repair them. If the compressor cannot be repaired, it needs to be replaced. Doing so can be costly, but the manufacturer can replace it if you have a valid manufacturer warranty. Your HVAC technician can help you figure out if the warranty is valid and if a replacement is needed.

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Dirty Heat Pump Condenser Coil

Like other heat pump components, a condenser that becomes too dirty will not work efficiently. The condenser is what gathers and releases the heat to heat or cool your home. The heat pump works harder to generate the same heating or cooling level when you have a dirty condenser coil. Prevent this issue by getting your unit regularly maintained.

Overworked Heat Pump

Several preventable reasons can cause your heat pump to overwork. The most common culprits are dirty outside units, clogged air filters, and closed or blocked vents. A licensed HVAC technician can help identify and repair these problems during regular maintenance visits.


Short Circuits

A heat pump that short circuits can trip the circuit breaker as soon as you switch the unit on. If you suspect that it is a short circuit, contact a licensed HVAC technician right away as short-circuiting is extremely dangerous. Short circuits can cause severe damage and even fires. According to a National Fire Protection Agency report, fire departments across the United States responded to around 44,880 electrical malfunction-related fires each year from 2012 to 2016. Heating and cooling equipment was responsible for 10% of the fires.

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Low Heat Pump Refrigerant

Heat pumps depend on a liquid called refrigerant to heat and cool your house. If the heat pump’s refrigerant levels are too low, typically because of a leak, it can be harder for the heat pump to warm or cool your home. The heat pump ends up compensating and overworking to reach the set temperature. This added burden can cause the components to draw in more power, which can trip the circuit breaker.

Ensure that the heat pump is regularly maintained, so it always has sufficient refrigerant levels. Moreover, call an HVAC technician if there is a refrigerant leak. They can identify the leak source and repair it through the use of the correct leak testing method. Fortunately, a heat pump that’s tripping the circuit breaker means it is the circuit breaker that is preventing power overload. Therefore, it is working as it should. A circuit breaker that’s not functioning correctly can cause an electrical fire, leading to bodily injuries, property loss, and even death.


Final Word

A circuit breaker that is repeatedly tripped by the heat pump can be because of a dirty air filter, dirty condenser coil, heat pump wiring problems, outdoor pump fan issues, low heat pump refrigerant, overworked heat pump, and short circuits. Prevent or repair these problems by scheduling professional maintenance and cleaning. If your heat pump constantly trips the circuit breaker, call a licensed HVAC technician immediately to fix the problem.

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When you need superior HVAC services in Camden County, New Jersey, make sure to call McAllister Energy. We have the best professionally certified technicians on staff for all your high-quality heating and cooling maintenance, installations, replacements, and repairs. All our skilled techs have the knowledge and experience to service your HVAC system correctly.

McAllister Energy provides the most competitive HVAC service rates in the locality. We can help improve your comfort, energy efficiency, and indoor air quality while reducing your energy bills with our maintenance services. If you need to replace or repair your HVAC system, we can recommend the most suitable solutions that fit your budget. Your satisfaction is our priority, so all our work is guaranteed. Schedule a service appointment and call McAllister Energy today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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