Having problems with your Air Conditioners ?

Electrical - Air Conditioning

\015 I have an OLD Gaffer & Sattler HVAC unit installed at my home. The condenser outside has a lockout box next to it with a 60 amp 230 volt breaker - however, the circuit to the main electrical panel only has a 40 amp 230 volt breaker.\015\012\015\012On hot days, the AC unit will run one cycle fine - but when attempting to start the condenser for the next cycle several minuets later, it will pop the 40 amp breaker.\015\012\015\012Thinking that maybe the 40 amp breaker (also very old) may be weak, I replaced it with a new Square D 40 amp breaker (same as before). This did not solve the problem.\015\012\015\012So... here are my main questions:\015\012\015\012With a 60 amp breaker in the lockout box, and a max fuse rating of 60 amps on the spec plate on the condenser, can the 40 amp breaker at the main panel be replaced with a 50 or 60 amp 230 volt breaker (without burning down the house)?\015\012\015\012And...\015\012\015\012If not an under rated breaker, what else could be the problem?\015\012\015\012Boy it's hot out here! Any fast answers may just save my life (just kidding... I think).\015\012\015\012Thanks for the help,\015\012Ben\015

Answers :

The important thing is not to put in a breaker rated higher than the A/C wiring. If the breaker box is in direct sunlight, the additional heat can cause the breaker to trip before the trip-point current is reached.
\015\012Is this a problem that recently started?
Ben,\015\012you are on the right track. To upgrade the breaker, first look at the main house breaker panel and determine if allowing more current through main breaker will be taxing it too highly (will 20 more amps exceed my main breaker limit...what is the main breaker current trip at?) Then look at the wire size leading away from the 40 amp breaker to outside. If it is 6 gage copper or 4 gage copper-clad aluminum wire, you are ok to upgrade. Any smaller wire size could be unhealthy.

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