how to reset ac circuit breaker


How to Reset AC Circuit Breaker


When your AC unit suddenly stops working, it can be frustrating and inconvenient, especially during hot summer days. One of the common reasons for this issue is a tripped circuit breaker. Circuit breakers are designed to protect electrical circuits from overloading and prevent potential hazards like electrical fires. Resetting the AC circuit breaker is often the first step to troubleshooting and resolving AC failures. In this article, we will guide you on how to reset your AC circuit breaker and get your cooling system up and running smoothly again.

Understanding the AC Circuit Breaker

The AC circuit breaker is a safety device that controls the flow of electricity to your air conditioning system. It acts as a switch, interrupting the electrical current if it detects an overload or short circuit. This helps protect your AC unit from damage and ensures the safety of your home.

AC circuit breakers are usually located in the main electrical panel of your home. The panel is often situated in the basement, garage, or utility room. Inside the panel, you will find multiple circuit breakers labeled for different areas of your house, including one dedicated to your air conditioner.

Identifying a Tripped Circuit Breaker

When a circuit breaker trips, it means that it has been shut off to prevent damage or electrical hazards. To reset your AC circuit breaker, you first need to identify if it has tripped. Here are some signs to help you determine if your circuit breaker has tripped:

1. No power to your AC unit: If your air conditioner suddenly stops working, check if there is power to the unit. If there is no power or the display is completely blank, it is likely that the circuit breaker has been tripped.

2. Noisy breaker panel: When a circuit breaker trips, it produces a buzzing or humming sound. If you hear unusual sounds coming from your breaker panel, it is an indicator that a breaker might have tripped.

3. Disposition of the breaker switch: Each circuit breaker has a switch that can be either in the "On" position or the "Off" position. A tripped breaker switch will usually be in a position between "On" and "Off." It might be slightly loose or not aligned with the other switches.

4. Tripped breaker indicator: Some modern circuit breaker panels have built-in indicators that show which breakers have tripped. These indicators can be LED lights or small window displays that change color when a breaker has tripped.

Resetting the AC Circuit Breaker

Once you have confirmed that your AC circuit breaker has tripped, you can proceed with resetting it. Follow these steps to safely reset the AC circuit breaker:

1. Turn off your AC unit: Before attempting any electrical work, it is crucial to turn off the AC unit. Locate the power switch near the outdoor condenser unit and switch it to the "Off" position.

2. Locate the tripped breaker: In the main electrical panel, find the circuit breaker labeled for your air conditioner. It is often labeled as "AC," "A/C," or "Air Conditioner."

3. Identify the tripped position: Look for the breaker switch that is not aligned with the other switches or is slightly loose. This indicates that it has tripped.

4. Reset the breaker switch: Firmly push the tripped breaker switch to the full "Off" position, and then switch it back to the "On" position. You should hear or feel a click when it resets.

5. Test your AC unit: After resetting the breaker, go back to your AC unit and switch the power back on. Set the thermostat to a lower temperature to check if the unit is working correctly.

Preventing Future Trips

While resetting the circuit breaker is a quick fix for a tripped breaker, it is essential to identify the cause to prevent future trips. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

1. Reduce electrical loads: If your AC unit is connected to other heavy appliances or electronics on the same circuit, it can lead to overload. Consider redistributing the electrical load or upgrading to a separate dedicated circuit for your air conditioner.

2. Check for loose connections: Loose electrical connections can cause overheating and tripped breakers. Regularly inspect the wiring connections to ensure they are tight and secure.

3. Schedule regular maintenance: Regular maintenance by a professional technician can help identify potential electrical issues before they cause a breaker trip. They can also clean and inspect the AC unit for better efficiency.

4. Upgrade your electrical panel: If your home has an older electrical panel with outdated breakers, it might be worth considering an upgrade. Modern circuit breakers are more sensitive, efficient, and can provide better protection for your electrical system.

5. Consult a professional: If you experience frequent breaker trips or are unsure about the cause, it is recommended to consult a licensed electrician. They can assess your electrical system and provide expert advice on preventing future issues.


When your AC unit suddenly stops cooling, a tripped circuit breaker is often the culprit. By understanding how to reset your AC circuit breaker, you can quickly troubleshoot and resolve this common issue. Remember to follow the proper safety precautions and consult a professional if you are unsure or need assistance. Regular maintenance and preventive measures can help minimize the chances of future trips, ensuring efficient and uninterrupted cooling for your home. Stay cool and comfortable throughout the year by keeping your AC circuit breaker in check.


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