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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8

    Confused Breaker Question

    Hello,

    We live an apartment and tonight the breaker for our Air handler went out. (It has done this before and their solution "apartment service guys" at the time was to replace the breaker which worked for awhile). A guy came tonight and messed around with the compressor outside. Claimed he added a hard start cap. (which is funny because that is the same thing another service guy told us about 2 years ago). I am skeptical that his fix will work because the breaker that is tripping is the air handler breaker (20A) and not the A/C Compressor unit outside (two strapped 20A). When I asked the guy why the air handler breaker was tripping if it was a problem with the compressor he got very defensive and said that he had just measured the current outside and it was too high. I asked him again why it was the air handler breaker and not the compressor breaker and he just got more defensive so I gave up. Can someone tell me if it is possible for the compressor to be causing the air handler breaker to trip??? I'm not an AC tech but the only thing I can think of is that the system is wired wrong or that the air handler cooled down while he was messing around outside. (Which means the problem will just come back)

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Fairfield county Connecticuit
    Posts
    778
    No way it can you got ripped off

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    6,957
    the condenser and air handlers are always on seperate circuit breakers...loose wires within the cb cab cause trips overheating motor and short cycling can do it all
    "when in doubt...jump it out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1qEZHhJubY

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    6,212
    Where is the outside unit located ?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8
    We are on the second floor and the unit outside is on the ground floor right under our balcony. Maybe 30 feet in distance from the air handler. The breakers are also about 30 feet away in another direction. The air handler is in a vented closet located in the center portion or the apartment.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8
    There are no obviously bad noises coming from the air handler. It does have a safety switch on the door which I thought might be causing some cycling awhile back. (nothing audible) I'm surprised that the unit came on right away when the "service guy" got here because it was tripping on me every time I tried to reset it earlier. I do remember that I had opened the air handler room door to check for anything obvious before the service guy came and I didn't try it after that.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8
    Thanks for the reply. That is what I thought. The guys who work at our apartment complex never impress me when they work on something. I imagine that the breaker will trip again and if it does I will go to management here. Appreciate it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Steeler Country
    Posts
    82
    The only thing drawing real amps in the air handler under cool mode is the blower. I bet the bearings are seized up real nice.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Saint Augustine, Florida, United States
    Posts
    1,152
    get them to open the AHU and look at your electric connections. When you turn off the outside unit the inside will stay on, when you turn off the inside (ahu) the outside will also turn off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    butler pa
    Posts
    1,073
    tell them...you are working on the wrong part of the system...
    its the ahu tripping breaker

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8
    I told the guy it was the wrong part of the system to start with but what can I say arrogance wins sometimes. My wife did say the guy was very pleasant with her when he had to come back this morning because it was tripping again. (he basically walked out the first time when I told him it was the wrong thing). When they came back they went right to the air handler. They found that the wire was melted/sparking where it bends to go into a connection box. Not the first crappy wiring we have seen here. I had brought all my tools home this weekend so that I could go through what I could myself if they didn't get any results. I was suspicious that high current had caused the wire to melt rather than being worn on the connection box so I took some current measurements. The fan itself is running about 5.5amps (enclosure says the unit is rated for 6.5 amps). I feel bad for being stern with the guy but I can't stand when someone does a half ^ss job and knows it.

    Thanks for the comments guys.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Steeler Country
    Posts
    82
    Did you measure the amp draw with the cabinet door off or on?
    Just a formality though. It sounds like they found the culprit.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    8
    Door off, the lines are in conduit and insulated in a way I can't get to them outside the cabinet. I imagine there will be more load with the door closed. I used a clamp on hall/sense current meter. Could have brought a high power sense resistor from work but figured it to be a bit overkill. In the next few years we will be house shopping at least then I can get things fixed correctly rather than the band aid fixes they usually do here.

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