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Why Does My RV AC Breaker Keep Tripping? (6 Common Culprits)

Written by Philip Lopez

Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

why does my rv ac breaker keep tripping

Recently, my camper AC keep tripping the breaker. At first, I didn’t know whether I needed to replace the breaker or the AC, so I tried to determine which device was causing me trouble.

If you’re going through the same situation, you should ask yourself “why does my RV AC breaker keep tripping?”

It could be for any of these reasons.

  • AC and other appliances overloading the power source
  • Poor connection of the shore power
  • Restarting immediately after shutdown or power outage
  • Overheat due to some loose parts/connection or short-circuited wires
  • Dirty condenser coils
  • Worn out breaker

Let’s discuss each potential cause of the tripping breaker below.

Reasons Why My RV AC Breaker Keep Tripping

1. Power Overload

rv-ac-keeps-tripping-breaker

One of the possible reasons why your camper keeps tripping breaker is an overload of appliances. When you run too many devices at once, the breaker trips when it can’t supply enough power. Hence, you should stay within the limits of your circuit’s capacity.

For a 30-amp RV, you can’t go over 3,600 watts. Try to use a few appliances only, especially on hot days when you want to run the AC at most times.

2. Bad Shore Power Cord Or Connection

Your RV AC keeps tripping breaker possibly because of a bad shore cord. The wires inside the cord could be faulty, hence tripping the breaker due to a bad connection.

You can diagnose this problem by measuring the voltage of the breakers. Take out the panel and use a voltmeter to measure the voltage. Then, turn on the AC and measure the voltage again.

If the voltage drops, you probably have a bad shore cord or connection that causes the activation of your breaker.

A drop in voltage means a draw of more amps to start or operate a device. When the amount of amps drawn goes over the breaker’s rating, it trips.

3. Starting Too Soon

Sometimes, starting the AC too soon after it shut downs causes the RV AC breaker to trip.

The moment the compressor goes off, the amount of pressure is still very high. So, when you try to restart the unit immediately, your compressor uses more energy and draws more amps.

Most newer models of RV AC units have built-in delays to prevent this immediate restart. If your AC doesn’t have this feature yet, consider installing one to protect your appliance.

4. Overheat

Another possible reason why your RV AC trips breaker after 5 minutes is too much heat.

When the compressor or motor heats up, the AC breaker tries to trip the power to protect you and your devices from any current surges. Some loose parts and connections can be a leading cause of why the breaker heats up.

It’s important to note that a motor running hot for too long can cause the wire insulations to short circuit. A short circuit is pretty dangerous because it can cause fire, which is why a circuit breaker tries to prevent that by cutting off power.

5. Dirty Coils

camper-keeps-tripping-breaker

A simple reason why your RV air conditioner trips breaker is accumulated dirt in the condenser coils.

The dirt can clog these parts and cause the compressor to work harder, resulting in higher than normal head pressure. This occurrence draws too many amps, hence tripping the breaker as a result.

Open the cover of your AC and visually inspect the condenser coil for any debris buildup. You’ll need to clean that up, not just to prevent the breaker from tripping, but also to improve your AC performance.

6. Faulty Breaker

If everything is alright with the AC unit, the breaker could be at fault. The probability is even higher if you own an old circuit breaker. Over time, some parts or connections can come loose and cause the breaker to behave erratically due to severe amp surges.

You know that there’s something wrong with your circuit breaker if it smells burnt. Try to touch it.

If it’s too hot to handle, then there are probably some loose parts or connections that need to get tightened. Of course, if it keeps tripping constantly, you’ll need to fix or replace it.

How Do You Fix an RV AC Breaker That Keeps Tripping?

rv-ac-trips-breaker-after-5-minutes

Before you fix anything, determine the cause of the problem. It’s only in that way that you can provide the best solution. Here are a few fixes you can try with a breaker that keeps tripping.

  • Clean Condenser Coils: Make sure to clean the condenser coils to remove any buildup of dirt that causes the compressor to draw more amps. Wash away the dirt with a garden hose or a special coil cleaner.

Watch how to clean a dirty condenser coil in this video.

  • Check The Wires: Faulty wires may cause a short circuit and eventually trip your breaker. Insulate any exposed wires or better yet, replace them.
  • Tighten Parts Or Connections: Fix any loose connections in your breaker. Tighten everything to prevent the breaker from heating up and eventually tripping.
  • Replace the breaker: Oftentimes, your RV power keeps shutting off because of a bad circuit breaker. If you’ve tightened all connections and still have no improvements, consider replacing the breaker.

Your CB is probably worn out if it still trips even when your AC circuit’s amp draw is below the breaker’s rating.

Conclusion

Now you know some possible answers to the question, “why does my RV AC breaker keep tripping?” There could be many reasons, but basically, it all points to overdrawing of amps.

Your breaker is there to protect you from excess current and power surges, so it trips to protect you and your AC from fire hazards.

Let us know what you think about the information here in the comment section below. If you want to share this new knowledge, please show your friends this article.

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