3 Common Electrical Issues With Residential AC Units

Electrical problems can be one of the more alarming issues with an air conditioner. Not only do they affect operation, but electrical malfunctions can also be a fire or electrocution hazard in your home. The best course of action is to completely turn off the unit until it can be assessed and repaired by an air conditioner technician. Otherwise, you run the risk of fire or injury.

1. No Dedicated Circuit

An air conditioning unit draws a lot of power. It can easily overload a circuit breaker and cause it to trip. When this happens, the AC will shut off abruptly, as will any other items that are drawing power from the same circuit. The unit will not come on again until the circuit breaker switch is flipped and re-engaged.

The repair solution is simple. Your technician must install a dedicated circuit breaker that only provides power to the AC unit. If your electrical system is outdated, it may also be necessary to update the entire system so that it can handle the electrical load of modern appliances and technology.

2. Premature Shutdown

Another issue that can prevent an AC unit from coming on, or may lead to it shutting down before the cycle is complete, is a failed capacitor. Capacitors store energy and deliver it exactly when needed, such as to prolong an AC cycle without overdrawing on the circuit or to provide the extra power needed to start the unit.

The good news is that capacitor replacement is a relatively quick and low-cost repair. The old worn-out capacitors are removed, and new ones that are properly working are installed. This simple fix can add years to the life of the unit.

3. Burning Odors

Electric fires have a distinct metallic odor, similar to the smell of burnt gun powder. In an AC unit, these are usually caused by shorts in the wiring or bad connections. You may pick up the odor when the unit first powers on, or it may occur when the motor has been running for a little while. What starts out as a short circuit and spark can eventually become severe enough that an actual fire is started inside the unit.

This is the most dangerous electrical problem in an AC. The unit must be turned off and power cut to the unit until the short circuit or wiring problem can be found and fixed.

Contact an AC repair service if you suspect that there is an electrical issue with your unit. An air conditioning repair service can provide more information.