Why Does My Air Conditioner Trip Circuit Breakers?

Wow has it been hot out these last few weeks!  Summer FINALLY showed up in the Pacific Northwest, bringing with it long stretches of record high heats!  Break out the portable air conditioners, pools, and fans!  Usually this time of the year brings in several calls from our customers that their portable air conditioner unit (or units…many  are running multiple units in different locations of their homes) are tripping their circuit breakers and they want to know WHY is this happening?!  Well, most of the time, they are plugging their unit into a 15A lighting circuit and those circuits are typically not designed to carry a constant load of that extreme, which causes an overload.  They are your general lighting and outlet circuits, which you are no doubt using in addition to the air conditioner(s).  Sometimes your air conditioner will work fine for a while and not trip the breaker at all, other times it will trip immediately.   How do you avoid this?  A dedicated circuit should be installed for EACH portable air conditioner that you are running, which will prevent the lighting circuits from becoming over loaded.  Remember that Washington State requires that this installation be done only by a licensed electrical contractor or by the home owner of the property and that an electrical permit be obtained through the jurisdiction having authority.  Please call us if you would like more information about installing a dedicated circuit or circuits for your home!  Beat the Heat and Stay Cool!

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