AC flipping the breaker repeatedly

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  #1  
Old 07-07-13, 07:30 PM
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AC flipping the breaker repeatedly

Hi everyone, thanks in advance for your help.

I installed an 11,700 BTU air conditioner in my apartment about 6 years ago.

My apartment has a few breakers, including one for the bedroom upstairs, one for the fridge, one for the "west wall" where I have a good amount of computer and audio equipment, and one for the corner of the room, where the AC is, along with a few small components connected to the TV - an 80w radio, a hard drive, and a few low voltage networked audio devices. All these devices and the 32" TV are connected to the same circuit as the AC.

All was good until about 2 summers ago, when the AC would occasionally flip the breaker. Over the course of last summer, it started to flip more often, and in the current heat wave is now flipping the breaker ever 20-30 minutes. It also takes out the lights in the kitchen for some reason.

My thinking is that either the breakers gone bad, or the AC is going bad and drawing way too much power. I've uploaded some pictures of the AC power requirements and the breaker box in question below - note that the switch that flips is part of the pair in the lower left, the top "20" switch. Keep in mind that when the switch flips, only the top switch in that pair needs to be reset - the lower 20 switch is unaffected.

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Thanks in advance for any advice about the best way forward!
 
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  #2  
Old 07-07-13, 08:03 PM
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If you are ok with working inside the panel you could temporally disconnect the wire going to the tripping breaker, and relocate to a different 20 amp breaker, disconnecting the wire on the "test" breaker. Breakers do no go bad often, but they do go bad, so this would be an easy test.

If you could relocate some of the other loads or the A/C to another circuit, that would be a big help as well. It sounds like you have a lot of stuff on that circuit. Circuit breakers are also affected by heat, so the hotter they are, the faster they will trip.
 
  #3  
Old 07-07-13, 10:55 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I installed an 11,700 BTU air conditioner in my apartment about 6 years ago.

All was good until about 2 summers ago, when the AC would occasionally flip the breaker. Over the course of last summer, it started to flip more often, and in the current heat wave is now flipping the breaker ever 20-30 minutes.

My thinking is that either the breakers gone bad, or the AC is going bad and drawing way too much power.
I would start with suspecting and working on the A/C, rather than suspecting and working on your electrical system. First of all, when was the last time you cleaned this unit? As in out-of-the-case cleaned it?

I've uploaded some pictures of the AC power requirements and the breaker box in question below - note that the switch that flips is part of the pair in the lower left, the top "20" switch. Keep in mind that when the switch flips, only the top switch in that pair needs to be reset - the lower 20 switch is unaffected.
The pictures were too small to see and disappeared when I clicked on them. See How To Put Pictures In Your Post and How To Include Pictures.

It sounds like you're saying that the circuit the A/C is on is one of two circuits that share a neutral. A multiwire branch circuit, in in other words. Not that it should affect anything, but is that true?
 
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Old 07-08-13, 06:52 AM
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Here's his pictures:



 
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Old 07-08-13, 08:13 AM
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I installed an 11,700 BTU air conditioner in my apartment about 6 years ago.
The circuit the A-C is on is powered from a 20 amp tandem single pole breaker. Repeated trips can cause a breaker to become weak and trip prematurely, however, that is not the issue here. The issue is that you live in an apartment and are not legally allowed to work on the electrical system. Call your landlord and ask for him to call a licensed electrician to troubleshoot your problem.
 
  #6  
Old 07-08-13, 02:07 PM
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You can work on your A/C unit all you want. I would take it out of the window, take it to the local DIY car wash, take it out of the case, and power-wash it. After it dried, I would put it back together with new filters and put it back in the window.

That's if you haven't already done that this year.
 
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Old 07-08-13, 02:38 PM
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I would take it out of the window, take it to the local DIY car wash, take it out of the case, and power-wash
I'd suggest leave the case in the window. It is probably screwed in any way and just slide out the "guts".
 
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