Why Does My Heat Pump Keep Tripping the Breaker?

If you have noticed that your heat pump keeps tripping the breaker, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. Understanding the reasons behind this issue can help you troubleshoot the problem and ensure the smooth operation of your heat pump.

Improper Electrical Wiring

One possible reason for your heat pump tripping the breaker is improper electrical wiring. This can occur due to various factors:

  • Undersized electrical wiring: If the wiring supplying power to your heat pump is not appropriately sized, it may not be capable of handling the electrical load, causing the breaker to trip.
  • Faulty connections: Loose or damaged electrical connections can result in inadequate power supply to the heat pump, causing the breaker to trip as a safety measure.

It is essential to consult a professional electrician to evaluate and rectify any electrical wiring issues to prevent the heat pump from tripping the breaker unnecessarily.


Heat pump systems generate heat, and if they do not have proper ventilation or airflow, they can overheat, leading to breaker trips. Several factors can contribute to overheating:

  • Clogged air filters: Dirty or clogged air filters restrict airflow, causing the system to work harder and heat up, resulting in a breaker trip.
  • Blocked outdoor unit: Obstructions such as leaves, debris, or vegetation around the outdoor unit can impede proper airflow, leading to overheating and breaker trips.

Regularly cleaning and replacing air filters and ensuring adequate space around the outdoor unit can help prevent overheating and subsequent breaker trips.

Undercharged or Overcharged Refrigerant

The heat pump system relies on refrigerant to transfer heat. An improper refrigerant charge can cause issues:

  • Undercharged refrigerant: If the refrigerant levels are low, the heat pump will struggle to operate efficiently, leading to increased strain on components and potential breaker trips.
  • Overcharged refrigerant: Conversely, an overcharged refrigerant level can cause abnormal pressure in the system, leading to a breaker trip as a safety measure.

Only qualified HVAC professionals should handle refrigerant-related issues to ensure the system is charged correctly and prevent breaker trips.

Compressor Issues

The compressor is a crucial component of the heat pump system, and certain problems with it can result in breaker trips:

  • Faulty start capacitor: The start capacitor provides the necessary boost for the compressor to start working. If it is faulty, the compressor may struggle to start, drawing excessive current and tripping the breaker.
  • Compressor electrical issues: Wiring problems, such as short circuits or damaged wires, can cause the compressor to malfunction, leading to breaker trips.

Consulting a professional HVAC technician is essential to diagnose and resolve these compressor-related issues to prevent further breaker trips.

Electrical Overload

If the heat pump system shares an electrical circuit with other high-power-consuming appliances or devices, it may result in an electrical overload:

  • Simultaneous high power demand: If there is a demand for significant electrical power from multiple appliances at the same time, it can overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip.
  • Aging electrical panel: An outdated or inadequate electrical panel may not be able to handle the power requirements of modern heat pump systems, leading to breaker trips.

Consulting an electrician to assess and upgrade the electrical panel if necessary can prevent electrical overload and subsequent breaker trips.

In conclusion, several factors can contribute to your heat pump tripping the breaker. By addressing issues such as improper electrical wiring, overheating, refrigerant problems, compressor issues, and electrical overload, you can ensure the smooth operation of your heat pump without unnecessary breaker trips. Remember to involve professionals whenever necessary to safely troubleshoot and resolve these issues.