Heat Pump Keeps Tripping Breaker

image of a breaker box depicting a heat pump keeps tripping breaker

It is never good when an appliance causes your circuit breaker to trip. It is an especially big issue if the heat pump is the reason behind it because your home comfort is also affected. If your heat pump keeps tripping breaker, contact a professional immediately to identify, diagnose, and repair the problem. In this article, we discuss some of the causes and solutions for a heat pump problem like this.

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Heat Pump Keeps Tripping Breaker

The likely reason behind a heat pump that keeps tripping the circuit breaker when you switch it on is that it draws too much power. Some of the causes behind this issue are:

Dirty Air Filter

hvac air filter replacement for a heat pump

Dirty air filters in your heat pump only hinder the airflow. As a result, you will have poor indoor air quality, and your heat pump is forced to work harder and longer to ensure conditioned air is distributed throughout your home. The heat pump becomes inefficient and draws more power, tripping the circuit breaker. This can also happen when the home’s indoor vents are blocked or closed. The tripping circuit breaker is from the same cause, which is obstructed airflow.

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Heat Pump Wiring Issues

faulty heat pump wiring

Wiring problems can trip your circuit breaker. Some of the electrical issues that can cause the circuit breaker to trip include:

  • Short fan motor – When electricity strays from its normal path, electrical shorts happen. Deteriorating wire insulations often cause shorts in the fan motor. This causes the wires to receive more power than they can deal with, and, in turn, the circuit breaker trips.
  • Worn-out or loose wiring – This problem causes the unit to draw in too much power or heat, tripping the breaker in the process.
  • Faulty breaker – Normal wear and tear in old circuit breakers mean they are more likely to malfunction. As a result, the circuit breaker constantly trips. Have a professional check the wiring and the fan heat pump to sort out the wiring issues. They can repair it or install new wires as necessary. An HVAC professional can diagnose and repair the wiring issues or refer you to a qualified electrician who can remedy the problem.
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Outdoor Heat Pump Fan Problems

The heat pump’s outdoor fan could be the reason behind the tripping issue. This component blows air over the refrigerant coils. It can lock up when there is a faulty fan motor, or an obstruction is present. The motor will then draw more amps, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Schedule regular professional tune-ups and cleaning to avoid malfunctions and obstructions.

Heat Pump Compressor Malfunction

heat pump compressor

The compressor is also known as the heat pump’s “heart.” Its function is to pump the refrigerant throughout the heat pump, making it an essential component for the cooling/heating process. As its function is vital, it requires a significant amount of electrical power during the heat pump’s normal operation. However, specific issues can cause the compressor to draw too much power and trip the breaker. Some of the usual compressor issues that trip the breaker are:

  • Hard-starting compressor – An old compressor will have a harder time starting. When this happens, it will draw too much power when starting and cause the breaker to trip.
  • Grounded compressor – The compressor becomes grounded when its electrical wiring touches the metal casing. This creates a short that trips the breaker.
  • Bad capacitor – This electrical component helps the compressor to start. Having a faulty capacitor makes it harder for the compressor to start. This could be the issue if your breaker trips when your outdoor unit is starting.

Professional routine maintenance can help prevent these problems. A qualified HVAC technician has trained eyes to see a failing component earlier and tell it to you in advance. Although a technician can resolve some compressor problems, others might be too difficult to repair. For example, compressors are usually tightly sealed, making it hard for technicians to fix them. Replacing is the only solution when repairing the compressor is impossible. It can be costly to replace a compressor, but the manufacturer can replace it if you have a valid warranty. A trusted HVAC tech can help you determine if you have a valid warranty and if a replacement is needed.

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Dirty Heat Pump Condenser Coil

A dirty condenser coil will not work efficiently. This component works by gathering and releasing heat to cool or heat your home. A dirty condenser causes the heat pump to work harder to generate the same heating or cooling level. Prevent this problem through regular unit maintenance.

Overworked Heat Pump

A heat pump might be overworked because of several preventable reasons. The most common culprits are dirty air filters or outside units and closed or blocked vents. A qualified HVAC technician can easily find and repair these problems during regular maintenance checks.


Short Circuits

A short circuit in the heat pump can trip the circuit breaker when you turn the unit on. Contact a licensed HVAC professional right away if you suspect a short circuit, as it can be tremendously dangerous. Short circuits can lead to severe damage or cause fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, fire departments throughout the United States responded to approximately 44,880 faulty electrical-related fires from the years 2012 to 2016. Ten percent of the fires are due to heating and cooling equipment.

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Low Heat Pump Refrigerant

Heat pumps use a fluid called a refrigerant to cool or heat your home. A refrigerant level that is too low is typically caused by a leak. This can make it harder for the heat pump to cool or warm your home. The heat pump compensates for the low refrigerant level, working harder to reach the set temperature in your thermostat. This additional stress causes the components to draw more electricity, which can cause the circuit breaker to trip.

Ensure that your heat pump always has enough refrigerant through regular maintenance. Contact an HVAC technician right away when you notice a refrigerant leak. The technician should be able to find the leak source and repair it using the correct leak testing method. The good news is that a circuit breaker that trips when you turn on the heat pump means it is working as intended and preventing the power from overloading. An improperly-working circuit breaker can result in an electrical fire, leading to bodily injuries, property loss, and even death.



A heat pump that repeatedly trips the circuit breaker might have a dirty air filter, issues with the wiring, heat pump compressor issues, outdoor pump problems, dirty condenser coil, low refrigerant levels, short circuits, or an overworked heat pump. Prevent or repair these problems through regular maintenance and cleaning by a professional. Keep your home safe and comfortable by calling a licensed HVAC technician when your heat pump trips your circuit breaker continuously. A qualified professional can remedy the problem immediately.

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Call Lawes Company For All Your HVAC Needs

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When you need superior heating and cooling services in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey, make sure to call Lawes Company. We hire only the best professionally certified technicians to ensure high-quality HVAC replacements, tune-ups, repairs, and installations. All our friendly techs are skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable in servicing your HVAC system correctly.
Rest assured, our company offers the most competitive HVAC service costs in the locality. Our maintenance services can increase your energy efficiency and improve your comfort while reducing energy costs. We can also recommend the best HVAC repair or replacement system for your home while staying within your budget. Our work comes with a guarantee to ensure your satisfaction. Book a service appointment with Lawes Company today. We offer free, in-home estimates.

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