If your circuit breaker keeps tripping when the heat pump is on, you should be glad since it shows that your home’s circuit breaker is performing well and is stopping a power overload. You risk an electrical fire or severe damage without a properly functioning breaker.
But what if it’s your heat pump causing all the tripping? Is it a cause for alarm?
Heat pumps are among the most energy-efficient appliances that assist you in heating and cooling your home all year. But when they start causing the breaker to trip, it means the heat pump has a problem, and you should attend to it as soon as possible.
But not to worry! If you have an issue with your heat pump tripping the breaker all the time, we’ve outlined some reasons why and how you can deal with it.
Heat pump tripping breaker? 5 Reasons why and how to solve it
Once your home heat pump begins to trip the breaker, it indicates something is wrong, and you shouldn’t ignore it. It’s because your unit is attempting to draw a large amount of energy from your circuit, which is unusual for a properly functioning heat pump. Below are five common causes:
1. Dirty Air Filters
When dust blocks the air filters in the heat pump, it acts as a barrier preventing air from crossing through. As a result, parts in the heat pump, like the fan motor, must work harder to pull in enough air to be heated or cooled in the heat pump.
The harder these components work, the more energy they need. As a result, they draw too much electricity, causing the heat pump circuit breaker to trip.
Inspect your heat pump filter to check if it has accumulated too much dirt. If the heat pump filter is blocked, the breaker will continue to trip. A filter replacement or cleaning is often necessary at this stage. Allowing the heat pump to keep tripping the breaker may cause internal components to be damaged.
However, stop resetting the breaker if your heat pump keeps tripping the breaker upon replacing the dirty filter. Instead, seek the help of an experienced HVAC technician.
2. Loose Wires
Loose wiring can be another cause of the heat pump breaker tripping. Usually, when circuit breakers detect electrical wiring problems, they will shut off power to avoid an emergency. The tripping will continue until the loose wiring issue is rectified.
Slight movements in the heat pump, tear and wear, earthquakes, and other factors can cause these cables to loosen. As such, if your heat pump breaker keeps tripping, inspect both the heat pump and the circuit breaker for loose wires.
If there are loose wires, in most cases, tightening them will resolve the problem. If not, you may need to crimp and trim them. To do this, follow these steps:
- First, switch off the electricity at the breaker. This helps avoid electrical hazards.
- Locate the loose wire(s) by accessing the heat pump wire structure and tugging each wire.
- Disassemble the holding bolt, cut the cable if necessary, and roll it on the bolt before tightening it.
- Tighten the bolt to ensure the cables connect back safely to the heat pump breaker.
- Close the outdoor cable lid and reactivate the heat pump breaker.
If your heat pump circuit breaker keeps tripping after this, it may indicate a bigger problem. In this case, calling a professional HVAC technician would be best.
3. Outdoor Unit Has Dust
Another reason you might be having a heat pump tripping breaker issue is a dirty exterior unit. This limits air circulation through the system and forces your heat pump to use more power to complete its heating or cooling job. Subsequently, this will cause your heat pump circuit breaker to keep tripping as the heat pump tries to draw more power.
First, clean the outdoor heat pump device as needed. Clear away mulch, leaves, and grass clippings lodged in the outside fins with a soft brush. Remove any vegetation that has grown up around the unit’s base.
Also, be sure to trim back any nearby shrubs or tree branches to leave at least two meters of clear space on all sides of the unit. Lastly, remove any outdoor items or furniture that are against the unit.
Ensuring that your outdoor unit is clean helps to keep air flowing through it. The refrigerant coils and fan motor rely on consistent airflow to operate. Overworked heat pumps that aren’t getting enough airflow because of a blockage frequently cause heat pump tripping breaker issues.
4. Dirty Condenser Coil
When something, like a heat pump condenser coil, becomes too dirty, it cannot operate efficiently.
Generally, whenever the condenser coil in the heat pump is dirty, your unit must run at a greater capacity to provide the same quantity of heating or cooling. So if your heat pump circuit breaker keeps tripping, this could be why.
In most cases, cleaning your coils annually as part of a seasonal tune-up is sufficient. However, consider your location. If you live in a big town with a lot of pollution, you should have the heat pump coils cleaned at least twice a year.
Also, regular tune-ups will keep your system working properly if the device is older or used often.
Inspecting your condenser coils every few months and gently cleaning off the condenser coil with a brush can be a simple way to keep the system running effectively. AC repair can sometimes be costly, but keeping your unit clean can help you save a lot of money over time.
5. Malfunctioning of the Heat Pump Compressor
If your heat pump keeps tripping the breaker, consider checking if your heat pump compressor is working correctly.
The heat pump compressor is one of the most vulnerable components of your heat pump unit. It is directly responsible for a smooth air exchange during the cooling and heating mechanisms. So, if you are wondering why your heat pump circuit breaker keeps tripping, a malfunctioning heat pump compressor might be the culprit.
Since the compressor is among the essential components of the heat pump, be mindful and take extreme caution when handling it. If you have extensive experience replacing a compressor, you can do it; otherwise, we suggest you hire a professional. The issue might require you to install a hard start kit to eliminate the tripping problems.
Conclusion – What to do if your heat pump keeps tripping the breaker
If you are comfortable taking care of your heat pump breaker tripping issue on your own, then visit a hardware store for any necessary tools.
However, if you know that this is not your area of expertise, book an appointment today to have an HVAC professional check your heat pump compressor for you. Our professionals will advise you on whether it needs repair or replacement and ensure your heat pump doesn’t cause any further issues.