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Old 01-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
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Central Heating unit trips breaker


My central heat unit seems to run fine when the outside temps are around 45 and above, however, once the temps fall below that, the unit runs for 15 minutes or so, then pops the circuit barker in the main panel. There is also a breaker on the unit itself, but that one never pops.
This started last winter, but the breaker would only pop when the aux heat came on, again, when the temps fell below 45. Now it doesn't seem to matter if the aux heat is on...

Breakers never pop when the AC is running

Unit is a Trane - installed about 7 yrs ago.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:41 PM   #2
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Central Heating unit trips breaker


the load on the trip might be the condenser defrosting happening and the resistance heat running at the same time knocking the main breaker out,loose connections check all your connections from the CB to the electric heat and out to the condenser,contactors might be arc'd worn..causing higher then normal amps,actual weak breaker but an amp reading is required for that..might just get somebody in if your not familiar diving into this stuff..
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Old 01-11-2012, 11:45 PM   #3
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Central Heating unit trips breaker


If this is a new occurance, if the temperature has gotten below 45 degrees in the last seven years and you've never had this breaker tripping issue before, than I'd suspect a weak breaker. If your electric heat strips were burned up inside the unit then it wouldn't take fifteen minutes, a breaker would trip instantly and always instantly.

This could very well a wire size issue as well, from the electrical service panel to the air handler itself. Wires are meant to allow a certain amount of heat via amperage draw thorugh them. The smaller the wire the less amps. When a component pulls higher than what is recommended amps for a certain size wire though it, the wire gets hotter than usual. Your wires to the air handler could be borderline and getting very hot and tripping the breaker. It very well could be a component beginning to fail and pulling more amps then usual which also would cause the breaker to trip. I'm assuming this is an electric air handler as you said there are breakers in the unit itself.

If also could be that the electric heat strips are simply jumped over from the main breakers in the unit to their own (usually electric air handlres have two sets of breakers in them) so more amps are being pulled through the correct size wire meant for only one set of breakers as two components are now pulling through them. This would mean that you would need an entirely new set of wires (a circuit) pulled to the air handler for the electric heat strips alone. But again, if it's worked for seven years without issue prior than I'd suspect that not be the issue.

You said auxilary, does this mean you have a heat pump with electric heat strips in the furnace as back up? Do you have both the inside and outside unit on only one breaker in the electrical service panel or are they on two seperate circuits, breakers?
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Last edited by Doc Holliday; 01-11-2012 at 11:47 PM.
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Old 01-12-2012, 06:42 AM   #4
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Central Heating unit trips breaker


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Originally Posted by skuba101 View Post
My central heat unit seems to run fine when the outside temps are around 45 and above, however, once the temps fall below that, the unit runs for 15 minutes or so, then pops the circuit barker in the main panel. There is also a breaker on the unit itself, but that one never pops.
This started last winter, but the breaker would only pop when the aux heat came on, again, when the temps fell below 45. Now it doesn't seem to matter if the aux heat is on...

Breakers never pop when the AC is running

Unit is a Trane - installed about 7 yrs ago.
It can be bad heat txv. When txv shut close causing compressor to go into vac will cause high amps and trip out the compressor. I did find that couple time doing that way
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