Circuit breaker for 1 HP – 2.5 HP air conditioner

The air conditioner circuit breaker serves as a crucial safety component, acting as the primary switch that safeguards your air conditioning system and the overall electrical infrastructure of your home.

Circuit breaker: Key to your air conditioner longevity and safety

In the last few years, people have been moving to more energy-efficient air conditioners. However, amidst this transition, an aspect that is occasionally overlooked is the significance of installing an air conditioner circuit breaker.

An air conditioner circuit breaker is a safety feature that prevents damage by interrupting electrical supply when abnormal currents are detected. It safeguards the unit and prevents broader electrical issues in the entire home.

When the circuit breaker trips, it indicates that the air conditioner is drawing an excessive amount of current, potentially putting the system at risk of damage.

Tripping the circuit breaker frequently, or worse, causing the entire house breaker to trip, not only disrupts the cooling function but can also result in permanent damage to the air conditioner.

Understanding the importance of this breaker is essential for maintaining both the longevity of your air conditioning unit and the safety of your home’s electrical system.

Without the protective mechanism provided by the circuit breaker, the electrical components of the air conditioner may be subjected to prolonged periods of excessive current, leading to overheating and, ultimately, failure.

This occurrence might be attributed to various factors such as electrical faults, compressor issues, or other malfunctions within the unit.

The importance of a dedicated circuit breaker for your air conditioner

Yes, it is generally recommended to have a separate circuit breaker dedicated to your air conditioner.

Having a dedicated circuit breaker ensures that the electrical demands of the air conditioner are met without overloading the circuit that serves other appliances or devices in your home.

Here are a few reasons why it is recommended to have a separate circuit breaker for your air conditioner

  • Electrical load: Air conditioners demand a significant amount of electrical power, especially during startup. A dedicated circuit ensures that the AC has the electrical capacity it needs without sharing it with other appliances, reducing the risk of tripping the circuit breaker.
  • Consistent power supply: A dedicated circuit ensures a stable and consistent power supply for your air conditioner.
  • Prevents overloading: Shared circuits among multiple high-powered appliances pose a risk of overloading, leading to tripped breakers and potential electrical issues.
  • Safety: Having a separate circuit enhances safety by reducing the likelihood of electrical issues and ensuring that the air conditioner operates within its specified electrical parameters.

If you’re unsure whether your air conditioner has a dedicated circuit, or if you’re planning to install a new AC unit, it’s recommended to consult with a qualified electrician.

Read more: The importance of a dedicated breaker for your air conditioner

They can assess your electrical system, determine the specific requirements of the air conditioner, and ensure that the installation meets safety and code standards.

What breaker is used for air conditioner?

The circuit breaker used for an air conditioner should match the voltage requirements, provide the necessary current capacity, and ensure safe and efficient operation.

It is recommended to consult with a qualified electrician to assess your electrical system and install the appropriate circuit breaker based on the specific requirements of your air conditioner.

Installing / repairing an air conditioner breaker requires a licensed electrician

Here are some general guidelines used to determine the type of circuit breaker commonly used for air conditioners:

  • Voltage: Ensure that the circuit breaker matches the voltage rating of the air conditioner. Air conditioners typically operate on either 120 volts or 240 volts, depending on the size and power requirements of the unit.
  • Current (Amperage): This information is usually specified in the air conditioner’s user manual or on a label on the unit itself.
  • Power Consumption: Power consumption is measured in watts. The formula to calculate power is: Power (Watts) = Voltage (Volts) x Current (Amperes).

  • Consult the Manufacturer’s Specifications: Always refer to the manufacturer’s specifications and guidelines for your specific air conditioner model. This information can be found in the user manual or on a label attached to the unit.

For safety reasons, you usually need to hire an electrician to take care of the installation and to make sure that the unit is wired correctly.

But if you’re confident and a solid DIY-er then please proceed with caution. We are not responsible for any damage or loss caused by incorrect circuit breaker installation.

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Also, don’t forget to adhere to local electrical codes and regulations to ensure a safe and compliant installation.

Circuit breaker for air conditioner table

Here’s a sample computation for a 1HP air conditioner.

  • 1 HP = 746 Watts
  • 746 Watts / 230 Volts = 3.24 Amp
  • 3.24 Amp * 125% = 4.05 Amp 125% is the required % of Philippine Electrical Code (PEC).
  • 3.24 Amp * 250% = 8.1 Amp PEC said that a motor with continuous load will increase by 250%.
  • Answer: 20 Amp circuit breaker is enough for a 1 HP motor air conditioner. Why 20 Amp? Because 8.1 AMP is far from the 80% demand factor of a 15 Amp circuit breaker.
  • It is better to go 20 Amp for 1 HP air conditioner.

But in the real world application, it is better to have a higher circuit breaker just to make sure. It is better to spend more on electrical materials than risking everyone in your home.

The table below lists the possible circuit breaker compatible with your AC’s horsepower rating.

Circuit breaker for 0.5 HP Air Conditioner 15 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 0.6 HP air conditioner 15 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 0.75 HP air conditioner 20 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 1.0 HP air conditioner 20 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 1.5 HP air conditioner 30 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 1.75 HP air conditioner 40 Amp or higher
Circuit breaker for 2.0 HP air conditioner 40 Amp or higher

The air conditioner manual provides information on the circuit ampacity needed to operate the unit. The nameplate indicates the minimum circuit ampacity, which must be met or exceeded

Reasons why air conditioner keeps tripping the circuit breaker

Air conditioners are extremely useful in the summer for cooling the air indoors, but they can also be a real nuisance if they keep tripping the circuit breaker.

There are several reasons why an air conditioner may repeatedly trip the circuit breaker:

1. Sudden current surge or Power fluctuations

Fluctuations or surges in the power supply can impact the operation of the air conditioner and result in circuit breaker trips.

2. Dirty or clogged air filters

Clogged or dirty air filters restrict airflow, causing the system to work harder and draw more current. This increased load, in return, can trip the circuit breaker.

3. Dirty condenser coils

Condenser coils are designed to cool the refrigerant gas inside the air conditioner. They do this by removing the heat from the gas. But the condenser coils also get hot.

In fact, some of the hottest parts of your air conditioner are the condenser coils. So, you can imagine that they get dirty.

Accumulated dirt and debris on the evaporator or condenser coils can restrict heat exchange, causing the system to overheat and trip the breaker.

4. Loose wires, bad electrical connections or electrical component failure

A loose wire, a bad electrical connection, or an electrical component failure are the most common causes for a circuit breaker to trip.

Outdated or faulty wiring can contribute to electrical issues. Additionally, improper installation may lead to problems that cause breakers to trip.

If you ask an electrician to fix an air conditioner circuit breaker that trips, they will begin by checking each wire in your electrical system to make sure it is attached to the correct terminal on the circuit breaker.

You can check this for yourself by measuring the resistance between the wire and the terminal with a multimeter, like this AstroAI digital multimeter.

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5. Faulty fan motor or capacitors

In most cases, the problem is the fan motor, so the first thing you need to do is turn off the circuit breaker that controls the unit, wait a few minutes, then turn it back on to see if the circuit breaker trips again. If it doesn’t trip again, the problem is the fan motor.

Capacitors help start the compressor and fan motors. If they are faulty, they can cause the motors to draw excessive current, leading to tripped breakers.

6. Frozen evaporator coil

When the coil gets too cold, it freezes. This causes a lot of pressure to build up inside the unit. When the pressure gets too high, the circuit breaker or fuse trips to stop the power from reaching the air conditioner.

This protects your air conditioner and stops it from being damaged. To fix the problem, you need to call an AC professional immediately.

7. Failing compressor

A malfunctioning compressor can draw more current than usual, overloading the circuit.

8. Refrigerant issues

Low refrigerant levels or refrigerant leaks can affect the performance of the air conditioner, causing it to work harder and draw more current, potentially leading to circuit breaker trips.

9. Old or overworked equipment

Aging air conditioning units may experience wear and tear, leading to increased power demand. Overworked or worn-out components can contribute to circuit breaker trips.

Troubleshooting circuit breaker trips: Assessing AC-related electrical issues and ensuring safety

Consider the following questions when dealing with a tripped circuit breaker related to your air conditioner:

Frequency of Trips How often the circuit breaker trips?
Isolating the issue Is the circuit breaker associated with your air conditioner is the only one tripping?
Main breaker trips Is the main breaker also tripping?

If the main circuit breaker for your entire home is also tripping along with the air conditioner’s breaker, it signals a bigger concern. This situation warrants immediate attention from a professional electrician.

Key scenarios related to tripped circuit breakers

Possible Scenarios Size of the concern
Isolated AC breaker trips If only the air conditioner’s breaker is tripping, the issue may be specific to the AC unit or its circuit.
Main breaker trips Tripping of the main breaker suggests a broader electrical problem affecting the entire home.

Recommended actions for tripped circuit breaker:

Actions to Take Description
Consult a professional electrician If the main breaker is tripping, it indicates a serious electrical issue that requires the expertise of a professional electrician.
Addressing AC-specific issues If only the AC breaker is tripping, it may be related to issues such as overloading, faulty wiring, or problems within the air conditioner unit. Seeking assistance from a qualified HVAC professional is advisable to diagnose and address AC-specific electrical issues.

Promptly addressing electrical issues is crucial for your safety. Consulting a qualified HVAC professional and/or electrician ensures a safe and effective resolution, safeguarding both the electrical system and the efficient operation of the air conditioning unit.

3 thoughts on “Circuit breaker for 1 HP – 2.5 HP air conditioner”

  1. Master pano nmn po sa Province Site yong kuryente po kasi doon Dalawa lng isang Ground at isang Live… pano po mag lalagay ng Ground??

    • Sir, isn’t a 15A cb sufficient for an appliance rated with 8.1A? 15*.80 = 12A which is closer to 8.1A compared to a 16A of a 20A cb. Aren’t we supposed to select thr next higjer rating?


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