9 reasons why your Air Compressor keeps tripping the breaker?

Do you know the reason that an air compressor keeps tripping the breaker? And why? If the air pressure is overloaded and clogged with dust and dirt then it keeps tripping the breaker. Your air compressor can keep tripping the breaker for short air or other reasons. I assure you of some remedies for each factor that impacts the air compressor. You must therefore comprehend some of the issues that it may run into to repair this. 

Continue reading to learn the solution and how to fix it. Consequently, this post will discuss the numerous potential causes of your air compressor tripping your circuit breaker.

Reason: Why your Air compressor keeps Tripping the breaker 

The pressure switch will respond to this drop in tank pressure when the air compressor tank is drained down to the cut-in pressure. When the compressor tank pressure reaches the cut-out pressure it passes, allowing the compressor to start and run.

Electricity will begin to flow through the pressure switch, the motor to start the circuit, and a start capacitor to jump-start the system. Your compressor’s motor will continue to demand electricity and may potentially draw enough amperage to exceed the breaker’s capacity if the engine cannot start for some reason, causing the breaker to trip.

A circuit breaker exists as a switch created to guard against harm from faults, short circuits, and excessive current to an electrical circuit and the equipment using power from it. They stand in the electrical distribution board of your home. By turning off the power to the circuit when an electrical anomaly or overload is detected the breaker will trip.

Here I show you some reasons and the solution to fix the breaker.

 1. A shorted air compressor

An air compressor that has been shorted is the most frequent cause of circuit breaker trips. Sometimes the air compressor trips the dedicated breaker right away, while other times it generates noise for a brief period.

Utilizing your multimeter, examine the air compressor’s line and terminal. Disconnecting your compressor from the circuit and turning on the breaker will allow you to determine if the actual short is in your compressor. The compressor is the issue if the breaker does not trip. You should then locate a specialist to examine it.

2. Shorted or damaged Wire

The insulation on the wires leading from the air compressor to the circuit breaker could be harmed. It might be the result of animal bites, such as those from mice, or just aging. If this occurs, it could short if it unintentionally makes touch with other cables

Starting at the disconnect switch and moving toward the circuit breaker panel, you should inspect the air compressor’s cable. If you come across a broken wire, you should fix it by utilizing wire and terminal connectors. To help you with your repair, you may discover a decent pair in the article on the best wire connectors.

Check the visible cords for damage as a solution. Instead of using an extension cable, try plugging the device straight into the wall; if the compressor power cord has to be repaired, you might need to take it to a specialist. Replace the breaker or use a multimeter to check the circuit for continuity. This can be risky, so don’t hesitate to employ an electrician if you’re not comfortable and knowledgeable about electrical work.

3. Condenser Coil Blocked

An increase in amp requirements may also be brought on by a blocked condenser coil. The fan will have to work harder, drawing more power, if the airflow to the air compressor is impeded by an excessive amount of dirt.

Use a water hose to spray water inside and out on the coil to clean it. Be cautious, though, as using your pressured hose too forcefully could harm the coils.

If your air compressor contains any cylinders, they could clog up and prevent the compressor from operating as it should. It is possible for a malfunctioning or clogged cylinder or many cylinders to cause the circuit breaker to trip to protect the air pump from harm.

4. Insufficient or excessive freon

Another potential cause of your circuit breaker tripping is freon levels. Your air compressor may malfunction if the freon does not match the specifications set out by the manufacturer, which will result in a trip. Unfortunately, a technician is required to examine it and determine whether it is the true source of your problems.

5. Condenser motor damage

Check your condenser fan to see if it’s stuck or doesn’t revolve as quickly if your air compressor runs slowly before tripping the breaker. That can indicate that your condenser motor is broken. This is due to the fan using a lot of energy to cool your machine, which the damage prevents it from doing effectively.

High-capacity induction motors with low amperage draws are used in air compressors. Your air compressor system’s circuit breaker may trip if you have a defective motor. Any internal electrical connections, such as the motor windings, could be shorting out, causing the abrupt flow of power to draw too many amps.

To find out if you have a bad motor or not, you’ll probably need the help of a skilled expert. There is a guide to air compressor motor kinds and where to acquire them that we have available.

6. Defective Extension Cord

The majority of air compressors are electrically operated, thus extension cords are included for simple connection to power sources. A damaged extension cord poses some major concerns, including the possibility of fire. When an extension cord malfunctions, the circuit breaker trips, cutting off the power to the compressor and causing it to shut down.

You could be underpowering your compressor motor because extension cords are infamous for restricting power. When the compressor starts, this will cause the motor to overheat and the breaker to trip.

The compressor should be allowed to cool for between 15 and 30 minutes before being plugged directly into a main socket as opposed to an extension cord. Your issue will be resolved if your compressor starts this time, you utilize it until it has to restart, and it does so successfully.

7. Dirty Air Filter

Breaker trips may also be brought on by a dirty air filter. A filthy air filter can limit airflow, which makes the fan work harder, similar to a dirty condenser coil.

The air filter also stops dirt from entering the air pump. If it’s extremely filthy, it can break and allow impurities into the pump, necessitating costly repairs. the need to replace your air filter. The motor of your compressor may become overworked and draw more current than usual if the air intake filter is clogged with dirt and dust. The breaker will trip if the extra power draw is greater than what the breaker can handle. The engine may overheat and cause the breaker to trip when the air route stands or the cooling fan is blocked by debris.

Circuit breakers for air compressors may trip as a result of a dirty air filter. Air filters keep debris out of the air pump since it can cause costly repairs if it gets inside. To prevent this, you must frequently change the filter in your air compressor.

If you inspect your air filter and it’s unclean, replace it and give it another go if your air compressor circuit breaker trips. You must perform more troubleshooting if your compressor still trips.

8. Faulty check valves or unloader valves

A key part of an air compressor is the unloader valve. The unloader valve discharges any air that has built up in the air chamber above the piston and the pump shuts off when the tank reaches its pressure limits. The motor will have to work harder when it restarts to maintain tank pressure if this valve malfunctions since the air will remain trapped. A jump in amperage draw due to the increased load may trip the breaker.

Similar to tanks, compressors include a check valve that stops air from returning to the air chamber. If this breaks down (remains open), air from the tank will reverse direction into the air chamber and overload the piston, potentially tripping the breaker once more.

9. Pressure Switch Fault

A malfunctioning pressure switch is another potential reason why the breaker trips when the pump restarts to maintain tank pressure. The pressure switch notifies the motor to turn back on and pump more air into the tank after the tank has depleted to a predetermined level.

A short circuit that trips the breaker could exist caused by damaged or loose contact connections inside the pressure switch.

If you’ve examined all the aforementioned possibilities but your compressor is still tripping the circuit breaker, you might have a bad circuit breaker. To determine whether your circuit breaker is broken, contact a licensed electrician. However, replace your circuit breaker right away if you also notice some burn marks there before the problem worsens.

How to fix the breaker?

  1. Solution:

 Examine all electrical connections in the compressor head when the device is unplugged and switched off, and tighten as necessary your user manual should have instructions on how to do this. If this doesn’t fix the issue, you’ll need to check the capacitors and motor windings to make sure they’re operating properly. Again, unless you have prior experience, it would probably be best to have this done by a motor/compressor repair specialist.

  1. Solution:

 The air intake filter should be cleaned or changed. Make that all additional airways and cooling equipment, such as intake vents and cooling fins, are clean.

  1. Solution : 

Turn off the compressor and empty the air tank. To access the pressure switch’s internal parts, removing the cover extreme caution is advised because you’ll be exposing live contact terminals that could shock you. Watch the terminals when you’re-plug and turn on the compressor. You have a broken pressure switch if you notice any arcing or sparking. Simply replace the pressure switch in this instance.


How do I stop my air compressor from tripping the breaker?

Shut off your compressor and empty the tank of all air. Reconnect the plug, and with the tank empty, turn the machine on. The check valve is probably the blame for the circuit breaker trips as the tank fills.

What causes a compressor to short to ground?

The compressor is shorted to the ground for high temperatures. If the motor windings have high pressure or discharge area of the compressor can result in compressor burnout, a particularly specific form of failure. When your insulation of motor windings, is destroyed by high temperatures to a loss of electrical resistance. 

How to check the performance of an air compressor?

It can be difficult to troubleshoot an air conditioning compressor. You must identify the problem’s origin, which is mostly the responsibility of experts. Take measures before beginning your inspection, especially when handling electricity. It is preferable to turn off the main power to the air conditioner before doing any work.
These are some typical issues that you might run into to give you an understanding of the things that affect your air conditioning compressor and breaker. Also provided are some tips that will make fixing it quick and straightforward. However, if you’re unsure of yourself, leave it to the experts!

Final Thought

Why does your air compressor keep tripping the breaker? The motor of your compressor may become overworked or you have short air and draw more current than usual if the air intake filter is blocked with dirt. The breaker will trip if the extra power draw is greater than what the breaker can handle. And above I  discuss and clarify the reason and fixing system. 

Some of the most frequent causes of breaker trips due to air compressors are all of the previously mentioned elements. If you’re having the same issue, you can go through each one one at a time to determine if one is related to your unit. However, it’s preferable to call a qualified electrician if you’re unsure of what you’re doing.

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