Thermostat Keep Tripping Your Breaker? 6 Possible Fixes

Soit seems that your thermostat keeps tripping your breaker, right?

Well, that could be the case, as there are a few reasons why that might happen. But I’ll let you in on something—chances are, your thermostat isn’t the problem at all.

Let me walk you through any issues that are directly related to your thermostat, and then address other, more common reasons for your HVAC to trip a breaker. Keep reading!

Reason Why Your Thermostat Is Tripping Your Breaker

If there’s an issue with the wiring to your thermostat, such as a short, this could cause your breaker to trip.

Solution. The first thing to do is to remove the faceplate of your thermostat and check for any visible issues with wiring.

Frayed or scorched wires at the thermostat or where they connect at the other end could indicate something shortcircuiting.

If you do see any visible problems, this should be addressed immediately. Either by an electrician or an HVAC professional.One thing you can do by yourself is to make sure all wiring connections are tight.

Hands Measuring Conductivity Of AC
While there are some reasons why your thermostat may be responsible for tripping your breaker, most of them can come from other parts of your cooling system.

Reasons Why Your HVAC Is Tripping Your Breaker

Problems with the circuit breaker
Lack of airflow
Frozen evaporator coil
AC compressor is hard starting
Dirty condenser coils

Now that we’ve covered the reason why your thermostat may trip your breaker let’s look at more probable reasons for your breaker to trip when running your HVAC.

1. Problems with the Circuit Breaker

Yes, you may not need to look any further than the circuit breaker itself. Here are some common reasons for circuit breakers to trip.

Overloaded Circuits: There really shouldn’t be a problem with your furnace breaker as most building codes call for the furnaceto be on a dedicated circuit. Additionally, air conditioners that are more than 15,000 BTUs should also be on a dedicated 220-volt circuit as well.

Short Circuits: If you have a short circuit somewhere in your wiring, it can cause the breaker to trip. This happens when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire, resulting in dangerously high electrical currents which in turn trips the breaker.

Shortcircuits can originate anywhere in your wiring, so identifying the source can be difficult. However, one telltale sign of shortcircuits is a burnt odor or visibly scorched wires.

Finally, you may just have a bad circuit breaker but fortunately, that’s fairly easy to troubleshoot. Check out the video below to help you determine if you have a bad breaker.

2. Lack of Airflow

Anything that causes your HVAC to work harder than it should can increase the amount of electrical current it’s pulling, which in turn can trip your breaker.

Any of the following will impact your system’s airflow and cause it to work harder.

Dirty filters: Dirty filters are the number one cause of a multitude of HVAC issues. Most of us can relate to wearing a mask now so imagine a mask with so many layers you can barely breathe through it.

A filter that has become clogged with dirt, dust, and debris will suffocate your HVAC as it works extra hard to pull air from your home and push out warm or cool air.

Blocked or closed vents: Return air vents are often found at about knee level on walls. The perfect space to put furniture against—unfortunately, furniture against a vent will restrict airflow.

Additionally, completely closing supply registers will have the same effect.

Check out the video below for instructions on how to change your filter.

3.Frozen Evaporator Coil

Your air conditioner can also be the source of a tripping breaker.

If you have any of the airflow issues mentioned above, this can lead to frozen evaporator coils in your air conditioner. Without enough air blowing over the coil, there’s not enough heat to absorb.

Another cause for ice build-up is a dirty coil. If there’s a thick layer of dirt, dust, or debris on the coil it can’t absorb heat like it’s supposed to.

Once there’s a layer of ice on the coil it can no longer work properly and your breaker will eventually trip.

Solution. Keep your evaporator coil clean. If you have regularly scheduled maintenance, this won’t be an issue. You can do this by youself.

4. AC Compressor is Hard Starting

The compressor is inside the outdoor unit that sits by your house and it moves refrigerant to the indoor evaporator coils—if you watched the video just above, you’ll be able to see how this works.

The compressor is the heart of your air conditioning and they wear and tear with age. At some point, they begin to struggle at start-up—it becomes more and more difficult for them to come on and stay on. This is called hard starting.

The problem is that hard starting causes a much bigger pull of power and it can cause your breaker to trip.

Solution. In many cases, trying to fix a hard start issue by yourself might cause bigger issues. You are better off calling a pro for this one.

Air Conditioner Compressor
A compressor will hard-start when it has difficulty overcoming the pressure difference inside it.

5. Dirty Condenser Coils

Also part of the outdoor unit, if your condenser coils are dirty it makes your air conditioner work harder and could potentially trip your breaker.

Solution: Keep your coils clean! Check the video below for instructions.


If your HVAC is tripping a breaker there’s a good chance the reason has nothing to do with your thermostat. The fault likely lies with one of the reasons mentioned above.

To recap, check for the following issues.

  • Problems with the circuit breaker
  • Lack of airflow
  • Frozen evaporator coil
  • Ac compressor is hard starting
  • Dirty condenser coils

Having said that, it is a good idea to make sure the wiring to your thermostat is good!

Hopefully, this article has helped you source your problem.

While you’re here, why not check out the related posts below. Perhaps we can help you with something else.

Thanks for reading!