How to stop air compressor from tripping breaker

If your air compressor breaker keeps tripping when the compressor is on, you can do a few things to fix the problem. But before fixing the problem, you need to figure out what is causing the breaker to trip. So it will be easy to troubleshoot the problem and find the solution. 

Reasons why the air compressor keeps tripping the breaker?

Air compressors can trip the breaker for several reasons. Here are the 10 most common causes:

  • Wrong Size Circuit Breaker
  • Dirty Air Filter
  • Failed unloader valve
  •  Not Enough or Too Much Freon
  • Damaged Condensor Motor
  • Overheating
  • Faulty Wiring
  • Loose Electrical Connection
  • Clogged Condenser Coil
  • Faulty Circuit Breaker

Let’s take a closer look at each of these reasons and solutions:

Wrong Size Circuit Breaker

If you find that your air compressor keeps tripping the breaker, one of the issues may be that you are using the wrong size circuit breaker. 

The circuit breaker is designed to protect electrical system from overload. If the circuit breaker is too small, it will trip when the current flowing through it reaches a certain threshold. 

This threshold is typically lower than the current that your air compressor draws, which can cause the breaker to trip frequently. To avoid this problem, make sure to use a circuit breaker rated for use with air compressors. 

It will ensure that the current flowing through the breaker does not exceed its safe limit and trips the breaker only when there is a real problem. You can determine the correct size for your air compressor by checking the label on the unit or by consulting with an electrician. 

Once you have the correct size, make sure to replace the old circuit breaker with the new one. This will help prevent your air compressor from tripping the breaker in the future.

Dirty Air Filter

The air filter in air compressor helps remove debris and dirt from the air before it enters the unit. If the filter becomes clogged, it can restrict airflow into the compressor. Results, it can cause the motor to overheat and trip the breaker. You can prevent this problem by checking the air filter regularly and cleaning or replacing it if necessary.

Failed unloader valve

A compressor unloader valve is used to unload the air compressor pump when it reaches its upper limit pressure. The unloader valve contains a spring that pulls the piston back when the pressure in the chamber reaches a certain level, which opens the exhaust port and releases the air pressure. If the valve is damaged, it will not be able to release pressure properly, causing the compressor to overheat and trip the breaker.

In some cases, the unloader valve can also become clogged with dirt and debris, preventing it from working correctly. To avoid further damage to your air compressor, it is imperative that you get your unloader valve replaced or repaired as soon as possible if you suspect that it is damaged or clogged.

To test the unloader valve, first, turn off the power to the air compressor. Then, disconnect the hose from the discharge port and release any remaining air from the compressor. 

Next, remove the cover from the unloader valve and check that the piston is free to move up and down. If stuck, use a small screwdriver or similar tool to free it. Finally, reassemble the valve and turn on the power to the compressor.

If the unloader valve is working properly, the compressor should start and run without tripping the breaker.

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When an air compressor overheats, it causes the motor to work harder, which draws more current and trips the breaker. 

There are several reasons why an air compressor might overheat, such as low oil levels, a dirty air filter, or restricted airflow.

If you suspect that your air compressor is overheating, you should check the oil level and change the air filter if necessary. Additionally, you should make sure that the airflow around the compressor is not blocked.

Not Enough or Too Much Freon

Freon is a vital component of any air conditioning system, and it works by circulating refrigerant through the coils. If there isn’t enough Freon, the system won’t be able to cool the air rightly. 

On the other hand, if there’s too much Freon, it can cause the compressor to overheat and trip the breakerYou’ll need to have a certified technician come out and check the Freon levels to fix this problem. They’ll be able to adjust the levels as needed to get your air conditioner running well again.

Damaged Condensor Motor

The condenser motor is responsible for cooling the compressor, and if it is not working properly, the compressor can trip the circuit breaker. To check if the condenser motor is damaged, first, make sure it gets power.

If it is, then check the windings and bearings. If they are damaged, the motor needs to be replaced. In some cases, it is possible to repair the damage.

However, if the damage is severe, it is best to replace the condenser. It can be a costly repair, but keeping your air compressor running correctly is worth it.

Faulty Wiring

Another reason your air compressor may be tripping the breaker is faulty wiring. Over time, the wires in your air compressor can become loose or damaged. 

This can cause the current flowing through the wires to increase, trip the breaker. To prevent this problem, make sure to inspect the wires in your air compressor regularly and tighten or replace any loose or damaged. If you are not sure how to do this, you can consult with an electrician for help.

Loose Electrical Connection

The loose electrical connection is another reasons of air compressor tripping the breaker. If any of the electrical components in air compressor are loose, it can cause a short circuit. 

It will trip the breaker and shut off the power to your compressor. To fix this problem, simply tighten any loose screws or bolts on the electrical components.

Clogged Condenser Coil

If still your air compressor keeps tripping the breaker and you’ve ruled out a problem with the electrical panel or wiring, the next step is to check the condenser coil. The condenser coil is responsible for dissipating heat, and it can become clogged with dirt and dust over time. 

If the condenser coil is dirty, it won’t be able to dissipate heat effectively, causing the air compressor to overheat and trip the breaker. Remove the access panel and turn off the compressor for cleaning the condenser coil. To clean the coil, use a soft brush or vacuum attachment.

You may also need to use a compressed air canister to blow out any stubborn debris. Once the coil is clean, replace the access panel and turn on the air compressor. 

Faulty Circuit Breaker

In many cases, a breaker trips because it is faulty. If your air compressor keeps tripping the breaker, the circuit breaker is likely not functioning perfectly. The best way to fix this problem is to replace the breaker with a new one. 

You can buy a new breaker at most hardware stores. Be sure to turn off the power to the air compressor before you replace the breaker. Once you have replaced the breaker, turn on the power and see if the problem has been fixed. If the problem persists, you may need to consult a professional for further assistance.

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How to stop air compressor from tripping breaker

As we have seen above, there are several reasons why an air compressor might trip the breaker. The problem can be fixed by a simple repair or replacement in most cases. However, if the problem persists, you may need to consult a professional for help.

One of the best ways to prevent air compressor from tripping the breaker is to perform regular maintenance. It includes cleaning the condenser coil, inspecting the electrical panel and wires, and replacing any damaged or worn parts. By performing regular maintenance, you can ensure that your air compressor runs perfectly and won’t trip the breaker.

If your air compressor does trip the breaker, turn off the power before you attempt any repairs. Once you have fixed the problem and turned on the air compressor, keep an eye on it to make sure the problem doesn’t occur again. If the problem does occur, you may need to consult a professional for further assistance. 

Final Thoughts

I have covered what causes the air compressor to trip the breaker and how to stop the air compressor from tipping the breaker. I’m sure you can now stop your air compressor from tripping the breaker. If you still face any problems, please feel free to contact me. I will be glad to help you out. If you want to learn more about air compressor maintenance and how to use compressor for different purpose, then read our latest informational article on our website.


How can I prevent my air compressor from failing? 

You can prevent your air compressor from failing by ensuring that it is accurately lubricated, cooled, and filtered. You should also regularly check the pressure switch and unloader valve. Additionally, check that the discharge piping is installed correctly and free of leaks.

How often should I perform maintenance on my air compressor? 

The frequency of maintenance depends on how often you use your air compressor. If you use it regularly, you should perform maintenance every few months. However, if you only use it occasionally, then you should perform maintenance once a year.

By Matthew

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