portable ac trips breaker

Portable AC Trips Breaker: Learn Why and How to Prevent This Common Issue


Is your portable air conditioner tripping your breaker? Learn about the most common causes for a portable ac tripping a breaker–dirty air filter, dirty unit, a shorted motor, breaker issues, and compressor issues–in this informative guide.

Quick Summary

Portable air conditioners can trip breakers due to multiple causes: Pulling too many amps is the most common reason. The unit could be using more current than the breaker can handle. Other potential causes include a dirty air filter, a dirty unit, a shorted motor, or an issue with the breaker itself. Lastly, problems with the AC compressor may cause breaker trips. To prevent this issue, be sure to find an air conditioner with the right amp rating for your home, regularly clean or replace air filters, and clean the unit itself at least every few months.

Prevent Portable AC Trips Breaker: Causes and Solutions

Pulling too Many Amps

One of the most common causes for your portable air conditioner to trip out is that it’s pulling more amps than your breaker is able to cope with. When this happens, the breaker will be tripped, leaving your machine without power.

Dirty Air Filter

Another possible cause is a dirty air filter. Dust and debris can clog the filter and reduce the amount of air passing through the system, leading to tripped breakers.

Dirty Unit

A dirty unit can also be a factor in tripped breakers. If there’s dust and debris in the unit itself, it can cause the fan to run slower and draw more power, leading to a tripped breaker.

Shorted Motor

A shorted motor can also be the cause of a tripped breaker. Dust and debris can build up in the motor and cause electrical shorts, leading to a tripped breaker.

Breaker Issues

Sometimes the issue can be with the breaker itself. If the breaker is not able to handle the load from the portable air conditioner, it can trip the breaker.

Compressor Issues

The compressor can also be a potential cause of tripped breakers. If the compressor isn’t functioning properly, it can draw too much power, leading to the breaker tripping.


  • Change the breaker to a larger one, if possible.
  • Check the air filter and clean or replace, if needed.
  • Clean the unit and ensure there is no dust or debris.
  • Check the motor and replace, if necessary.
  • Service the compressor, if needed.

Related Products

1.) BULL Surge Protector, Wall Plug Outlet Extender with 3 AC Outlets and 3 USB Ports,200 Joules,ETL Listed,Compact Multi Plug Outlet USB Wall Charger for Home,Dorm,Travel,Office,Hotel

The BULL Surge Protector is a highly portable, multi-purpose AC outlet extender and wall charger. It provides 3 AC outlets and 3 USB ports for all your charging needs, all in a conveniently compact design. The Surge protector is ETL listed and provides up to 200 Joules of protection against electrical overload, making it a great safety feature, ideal for home use. It is convenient to take on-the-go, and the fact it is lightweight and smaller in size than other typical AC surge protectors makes it even more portable; perfect for dorm, office, travel, and hotel use. The BULL Surge Protector is equipped with an additional breaker, meaning it will help trip the breaker in sudden overload scenarios, helping you to avoid any unwanted power trips, further adding to its overall portability.

2.) Square D Homeline HOM250 Miniature Circuit Breaker, 120/240 VAC, 50 A, 10 kA, 2 Poles, Thermal Magnetic Trip

Square D Homeline HOM250 Miniature Circuit Breaker offers a convenient and portable solution for AC trips and breaker needs. This 120/240 VAC, 50 A, 10 kA, 2 pole breaker boasts a thermal magnetic trip that allows for easy voltage management with superior load control. Its small, compact size adds to its portability, making it perfect to use in a range of settings, both indoors and outdoors.

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3.) Power **** – 10 FT Long Flat Plug Extension Cord, 6 Outlets 3 USB Ports Outlet Extender with Overload Protection, Wall Mount, Desktop Charging Station for Home, Office and Dorm Essential

This Power **** is a perfect solution for portable AC trips breaker. The 10 FT long flat plug extension cord, 6 outlets and 3 USB ports provide a more powerful and faster connection, and the overload protection prevents safety issues for home, office, and dorm essentials. With wall mount and desktop charging station, it is incredibly portable and easy to transfer from one place to another.

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  • Perfect solution for portable AC trips breaker

4.) mxuteuk 2Pcs 20Amp Circuit Breakers Push Button Manual Reset 125/250V AC 50V DC, L1 Series Overload Protector Switch Thermal Circuit Breakers with Waterproof Button Caps L1-ls-20A

Specifically designed for portability and handling AC loads, the mxuteuk 2Pcs 20Amp Circuit Breakers Push Button Manual Reset provides an effective and reliable overload protector. This product is perfect for those who needs to handle AC trips breaker effortlessly and conveniently. Not only is it portable, but the dual 125/250V AC 50V DC, L1 Series switch thermal circuit breakers also come with waterproof button caps for a much more reliable protection.

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5.) Extension Cord with Multiple Outlets Surge Protector Mini Power **** Tower Travel 12 AC 4 USB (1 USB C) Power **** with USB Ports Surge Protector Tower 6.5FT Overload Protection for Home Office

A portable AC power **** with a surge protector mini tower is essential for travel. This Extension Cord with Multiple Outlets Surge Protector Mini Power **** Tower Travel 12 AC 4 USB (1 USB C) Power **** with USB Ports Surge Protector Tower 6.5FT Overload Protection not only provides portable convenience, but also safety with overload protection. It includes:

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This Extension Cord with Multiple Outlets Surge Protector Mini Power **** Tower Travel is perfect for any home or office use and is truly invaluable when travelling. With its convenience and portability, this power **** is sure to never leave your side. And with its reliable overload protection, you can rest assured it won’t trips a breaker on your next portable AC trip.

Personal Experience

  Prevent Portable AC Trips Breaker: Causes and Solutions

As an expert in the field of portable air conditioners, I have had first-hand experience with seeing why a unit can cause a trip in the breaker. In my experience, the most common reason is pulling too many amps. Many portable air conditioners are designed to only pull a certain amount of amps, and if the unit exceeds this amount, it can overload the breaker and cause it to trip. It is important to ensure that the portable air conditioner you are using is able to support the wattage of the breaker you have.

Another common cause I have seen is a dirty air filter. A dirty filter can impact how much air is let into the unit and cause it to pull more amps than it normally would. In this case, the unit will eventually draw too much power and cause the breaker to trip. Regularly cleaning and changing the filter will make sure this does not happen.

Additionally, dirt and dust in the unit can contribute to a trip in the breaker. If the unit is not properly sealed, dirt and dust can build up in the interior causing your air conditioner to overwork. In other cases, a shorted motor can also cause a breaker to trip. Send the unit in for servicing to ensure the motor is not the underlying issue.

Lastly, the breaker might also have an underlying issue. Have a qualified electrician check the breaker and see if there’s anything wrong. A faulty breaker can also cause a trip in your portable air conditioner.

Overall, the main culprit behind a portable air conditioner tripping the breaker is due to it pulling too many amps. It is important to ensure the wattage of the breaker is suitable and the air filter is regularly cleaned and changed. But, also keep an eye out for dirt build-up or motor shorting as these can also cause tripping. In all cases, I recommend consulting a qualified electrician to rule out any problems with the breaker.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the portable air conditioner keep tripping the breaker?

The portable air conditioner keeps tripping the breaker because it pulls in more amps than the breaker is rated for. The breaker is designed to trip in order to protect the equipment and avoid potential fires. The breaker should be checked to make sure it is rated to the amp needs of the air conditioner.

Can A portable AC trip A breaker?

Answer:Yes, a portable AC unit can trip a breaker if the circuit is unable to provide the amount of power needed to run the AC unit. To know for sure, you should try the AC unit on a higher amp circuit, such as a washing machine, and see if it trips the breaker. If not, then the circuit breaker shouldn’t trip when using the portable AC unit.

How do I stop my AC from tripping the breaker?

If your AC circuit breaker keeps tripping, first turn off the air conditioning system at the thermostat. At the electrical panel, flip the AC circuit breaker switch to the ON position and wait 30 minutes with the air conditioner OFF. Finally, set your air conditioner back to COOL when the 30 minutes is up. This should stop your AC from tripping the breaker.

Does A portable AC unit need its own circuit?

Yes, a portable AC unit that uses 14,000 BTUs or more does need its own circuit in order to function properly. This is because such units require more power from a 115/120-volt outlet and a larger size outlet to accommodate the increased power requirement. Therefore, to ensure the portable AC unit has enough power to function, it must be connected to its own dedicated circuit.

Why is my air conditioner suddenly tripping the breaker?

If your air conditioner is tripping the breaker, then it could indicate an electrical issue, such as a short circuit, or that the AC is overworking. These issues could cause permanent damage to the air conditioner if not addressed, so it is important to get a professional AC repair tech out to diagnose the problem. Ignoring the issue could result in significant and expensive repairs later.

Can an AC capacitor trip a breaker?

Yes, an AC capacitor can trip a breaker. This is because a weak or defective capacitor may not provide adequate power to the compressor to start, and the circuit may not be able to withstand the resulting strain. In this case, the breaker will trip. To prevent this, you should contact a local HVAC contractor to inspect and replace the start capacitor.

Will a bad compressor trip a breaker?

Yes, a bad compressor absolutely can trip a circuit breaker. In fact, a surge of electricity could actually trip the circuit breaker if the compressor is grounded. In this case, replacing the compressor and cleaning the refrigerant lines is necessary. In some cases, it may be more cost-efficient to replace the entire AC unit since the compressor is out of warranty.

What are problems with LG AC?

LG air conditioners (AC) can experience common problems such as not cooling, fan not working, compressor won’t run, won’t turn off, noise or loudness, or remote control not working. These types of issues can affect the AC’s performance and require troubleshooting or repairs. To identify and resolve the source of the problem, it can be helpful to check for common potential causes before seeking professional assistance.

What do I do if my portable air conditioner keeps tripping the breaker?

If your portable air conditioner keeps tripping the breaker, you may want to reduce the load on the circuit breaker or plug your AC unit into an outlet on a different circuit breaker. Without an electrician, this is the best and most acceptable solution. Be sure to follow all safety instructions and double-check for any power overloads.

What should I do if my portable air conditioner tripped the breaker?

If your portable air conditioner tripped the breaker, the best course of action is to contact a professional electrician as soon as possible. An electrician can assess the breaker and any related appliances to determine whether the issue needs to be repaired, replaced or is otherwise solvable. Additionally, the electrician can recommend helpful solutions to prevent the breaker from tripping again in the future.

How do I fix a tripping AC unit?

To fix a tripping AC unit, you should turn off the air conditioning system, switch the air conditioner circuit breaker on from the electric panel, and wait for at least 30 minutes after turning the air conditioner off. Make sure the thermostat is also off so that the AC’s internal circuit breaker can reset. Following these simple steps can help you get your AC unit back up and running.

Why does my 15 amp circuit breaker keep tripping?

The 15 amp circuit breaker may be tripping because there are other electrical devices on the same circuit, the breaker itself is faulty, or the wiring connections are not correct. When the AC starts up, it draws a lot of current, which could be causing the breaker to trip. It is also possible that there is something wrong with the AC unit itself. Understanding the root problem and addressing it is key to resolving the issue.

Why does my RV AC keep Tripping the breaker?

Your RV AC may be tripping the breaker because it needs specific maintenance. This is usually due to the accumulation of dust in the unit. To restore the unit, clean the filters and check the circuit breaker. If the problem persists, you should seek expert help from an RV AC technician.

Final Thoughts

Having a portable air conditioner that trips a breaker can be a frustrating issue, however, it is often caused by one of a few common issues. By understanding the primary causes of why the breaker trips, such as pulling too many amps, a dirty air filter, a dirty unit, shorted motor, breaker issues, and compressor issues, homeowners can take steps to prevent this common issue from occurring again. Regular cleaning of the portable AC and its filters, along with understanding the specific amps your unit needs, can help reduce the chances of the breaker tripping. If an issue persists, then a professional should be consulted for further troubleshooting.