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Air Conditioner tripped circuit breaker

Bryant outdoor a/c unit model 561CJ030-E
serial 1204E15932
Tripped dual 20A breakers today.
When the breaker was reset, I could hear humming from the unit.
I spun the fan with a screwdriver blade, and it slowly increased speed, but never got anywhere near full speed.
I've shut off the breaker again until I had some idea what to do next.
The circulation fan in the furnace unit is still working.

Is there anything I can do to troubleshoot and fix it myself?

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  • Dave Roehrman Aug 13, 2010

    Yes, it was beyond my abilities to troubleshoot. Turned out to be an 8-inch cylindrical attachment under the outer cover of the cooling unit. Thanks

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  • 1,478 Answers

Hello,

It could be a number of things. Anything from a weak breaker to a nearly dead A/C. My guess is a basic service/maintenance call will take care of it. When was the last time you had it serviced?

Depending on the age of the house (breaker box), breakers do wear over time and become more resistive. When you turn your AC on, it gets very hot and that's what typically causes breakers to trip. The breakers trip when they get hot due to overcurrent, or just old age. My personal experience was that my box was so old (1968), the busses feeding the circuit had corroded to about 1/2 the size and basically lit up like a lightbulb when the AC was on, causing the breakers to trip. I had to remove the box. First, a heat pump should have exactly the same cooling capacity as a regular A/C unit of the same tonnage. You should really have your unit serviced yearly to be sure it is working at maximum capacity and efficiency. As to the breaker tripping, it is hard to diagnose without being there, but from what you describe, it sounds more like a problem in the electrical service to the unit rather than a problem with the unit itself, but there are many possibilities, and unless you have some basic experience with electrical work, it is best left to a professional. Your best bet would be to call an A/C company.

Take care.

Posted on Aug 06, 2010

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