When Your RV Rooftop AC Trips the Breaker
It can be very frustrating when your RV air conditioner constantly trips the breaker on a hot day. This could be caused by several reasons.
You’re running too many high-powered AC (alternating current) appliances
The rooftop air conditioner draws a lot of power, potentially putting your electrical system right on the edge. If, for example, you run the microwave or convection oven at the same time the air conditioner is on, it’s likely to flip the breaker. The same goes for hairdryers and any other high energy appliance. If you need to run the microwave or dry your hair, turn off the air conditioner until you’re done. Only run one high-energy appliance at a time.
The compressor in the air conditioner has gone bad
One of the most common reasons for this problem is the compressor in the air conditioner is drawing too many amps. This could happen when it starts up or while it’s running. If your compressor has gone bad, it will need to be replaced.
The condenser coils are dirty
Try cleaning the condenser coils of any dirt or debris. Clean both the condenser coils and the evaporator coils, as well as any air filters. You can use a soft brush or blow out any dirt with an air compressor. Be careful not to bend the fins.
It could be a bad start or run capacitor
If your AC unit has trouble starting before it trips the circuit breaker, it could have a bad capacitor. The capacitor starts the compressor, and if it has trouble starting, that could mean the capacitor is pulling too many amps and tripping the circuit breaker. If that is the problem, it will need to be replaced.
The motor is shorted out
The electric motors in your air conditioner can last a long time. However, if the motor runs too long, the wiring insulation can begin to deteriorate, causing an electrical short. If that is the case, you may need to call in an electrician or professional repair person.
The compressor is grounded
A grounded compressor happens when the electrical winding inside the compressor touches the side of the casing. This is direct short and causes the compressor to burnout. If this is the case, you need to replace the compressor.
The refrigerant is leaking
If your air conditioner is leaking refrigerant, the air conditioner is forced to work harder, thus using more power. That can cause the breaker to trip. You’ll need to get a professional repair person to replace the refrigerant and fix any leaks.
The problem could also be in the circuit breaker
Temperature fluctuations can cause the wires to contract and expand, causing the wires to come loose. Check the breaker box for:
- The circuit breaker feels hot
- There is a burning smell
- Black burn marks around the breakers
If you can’t figure out what is causing your air conditioner to trip the breaker, call a licensed, professional familiar with RV AC units.