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Why Does My RV AC Breaker Keep Tripping & How to Solve It?

why does my rv ac breaker keep tripping

An RV air conditioner that frequently turns off might require you to look at other areas other than the cooling unit. Sometimes, the suspect to this problem is the RV circuit breaker keeps tripping. Now you’re wondering “why does my RV AC breaker keep tripping?”

The reasons why an RV air conditioner trips breaker varies for each camping vehicle. It could be a short circuit, weak circuit, or overloading of the switch. Keep reading to know more details about each of these potential causes.

What Causes an RV AC Breaker to Trip Repeatedly?

rv-air-conditioner-trips-breaker

If an RV AC keeps tripping the breaker, the main suspect can come from different sources. These problem areas include:

Short Circuit

Sometimes connected wiring can become damaged from other DIY projects for your RV. For example, you drill a hole in your camper’s wall and hit a wire that connects the circuit breaker to the AC.

For that scenario, the wiring will have a short circuit, causing the camper air conditioner tripping breaker. Replacing the faulty wire and securing the connection may help solve this issue.

Weak Circuit

Circuit breakers can degrade over time. For example, you have a 20-Amp breaker that brought you good service for many years. However, turning on the RV air conditioner keeps tripping breaker.

It’s because the switch can now only handle 30% to 50% of its original capacity. Swapping the old circuit breaker with a new model should restore optimal function to the cooling system.

Overloading the Circuit

For example, if the circuit is rated at 20 Amps, it will generally function well at about 80% of its maximum load. The switch will automatically trip or shut off the electrical load that goes over that mark to save the RV AC and other appliances from damages.

Take note that RV circuit breakers can run at a 20-Amp load, albeit during a reasonably short period. At this point, you have two options: (1) Reduce electronics usage or (2) upgrade to a high-load circuit like a 30 or 50-amp variant.

You may also watch the video below for a further explanation of these causes:

How Do You Stop Your RV AC From Tripping the Breaker?

The solution to the problem of camper AC keeps tripping breaker depends on the source of the issue. For example, if faulty wiring is the cause, fixing the connection from the switch to the AC can solve the problem.

However, if troubleshooting the circuit breaker yielded no satisfactory results, the problem could be your RV’s air conditioner.

Inspect the appliance to see if it has issues like a malfunctioning part. If it does, you may need to bring the cooling unit to a certified technician. Otherwise, prepare to spend money to purchase a new AC for your RV.

What Are the Signs of a Bad RV Breaker?

A bad RV circuit breaker may affect different devices in the vehicle, including the lighting, refrigerator, and other appliances. Some of the signs that point to a bad breaker switch are:

  • Flickering lights in the RV
  • Poor performances with connected electronics
  • Appliances turning on and off without human intervention
  • Burning or foul odor from the breaker panel
  • Frequent circuit breaker trips

If you experience one or more of these events happening in your RV, consider upgrading the vehicle’s electricity service panel. Doing so can increase the board’s circuit capacity, along with improving its safety features.

Where Is the Breaker Box in an RV?

The breaker box is usually near the fridge, the bed, or a cupboard. You may also find the panel on the wall.

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

camper-ac-keeps-tripping-breaker

Before proceeding, make sure that you know what you are about to do. You should be confident about doing the following steps. Otherwise, consult the expert help of a licensed technician to avoid costly mishaps.

  • Step 1: Find the source of the problem that is causing the circuit breaker to trip.
  • Step 2: Turn off the main power from your RV and on the main breaker panel.
  • Step 3: Remove the front plate of the panel by unscrewing the attached screws. Take note that the plate should be removed from the bottom.
  • Step 4: Push the faulty circuit breaker down and pull it out of the panel.
  • Step 5: Remove the screw in the malfunctioning switch using a flathead screwdriver.
  • Step 6: Take the circuit breaker to the hardware store and buy an exact model. Don’t use another type of switch if you already have the correct breaker size.
  • Step 7: Locate the screw in the new circuit breaker.
  • Step 8: Take the wires from the panel and slide them into the new switch. Secure the connection by screwing it with the flathead screwdriver.
  • Step 9: Push the bottom of the new circuit breaker into the panel. Once the bottom clicks, push it up and the switch should be attached properly.
  • Step 10: Put the metal plate back in place.
  • Step 11: Turn on the main breaker and test the connections.

Keep in mind that the inside of a circuit breaker panel is usually quite dark. Use a flashlight to shine a light on the parts to ensure you are working with the correct components.

You can also watch the video below for a visual representation of the steps mentioned above.

How to Troubleshoot an RV Air Conditioner?

If you deduce that the problem is not with your RV’s breaker panel but with the AC, here are some tips to help you find the cooling unit’s main issue:

  • Check the capacitors if the AC compressor has difficulty starting. The capacitor may be using too much electricity; in this case, replace it.
  • Check other connected appliances to check if adequate power is being supplied by the breaker panel.
  • Open the RV AC to investigate any shorts in the motor.
  • Do not repair a malfunctioning RV AC compressor but replace it.
  • If ice is building up in the AC, the appliance might be low on Freon. This leads the AC to use more power, causing the breaker to trip.
  • The AC’s coils are dirty if condensed water drips from an unusual location.

Conclusion

Why does my RV ac breaker keep tripping? An RV AC breaker can trip because of different issues, such as circuit overloads, short circuits, or faulty switches. You should troubleshoot your RV’s circuit breaker panel and the vehicle’s cooling system to check for damages. Some signs to look out for are:

  • Poor performance from the AC
  • Other appliances malfunctioning
  • A burnt stench coming from the air conditioner or breaker panel

Proceed with repairing the AC or the breaker if you have a decent amount of knowledge about electronics. Otherwise, you should seek professional help to fix the problem.

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