Knowing the size of your air conditioner breaker is crucial. A circuit breaker is a very important safety component. It helps protect your Air conditioner from the damage caused by electricity overloads or short circuits. So, do you know what size breaker is needed for a 3-ton ac unit?

Circuit breakers keep your air conditioner safe from electricity overloads and short circuits. Whenever there’s an electricity overload, the circuit breaker of your air conditioner makes sure your air conditioner doesn’t face any issues. 

A question we get quite frequently is what size breaker does a 3-ton air conditioning unit need. The answer is very straightforward. In this article, we are going to talk all about air conditioner circuit breakers and explain everything thoroughly.

what size breaker for a 3 ton ac unit

What Size Breaker For A 3 Ton AC Unit?

A 60-ampere circuit breaker is needed for the inside (air handler) unit of an air conditioner. Less than 15 amperes are needed for the blower itself and then the rest for the backup electrical heating elements.

A 3 Ton air conditioning unit is quite common. Almost everyone is using a 3 Ton air conditioner unit in their household. Running a 20A breaker on a 3-ton air conditioner unit also works perfectly fine.

What Is A Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a device used for control and protection which can:

  • Manually or by remote control work under normal and fault conditions.
  • Breaks a circuit automatically under fault conditions.

A circuit breaker is mainly used for switching mechanisms and to protect the system. Other associated devices and electrical components are also used for the purpose associated with circuit breakers like fuses, relays, switches, etc.

Sizing Of An Air Conditioner Circuit Breaker

One of the main things home inspectors pay close attention to while inspecting an electrical panel is comparing wire sizes to the sizes of circuit breakers. If a wire is too small for a circuit breaker, you have a potential fire hazard in your hands. Circuit breakers are used to protect the wires from overheating. Even though the real formula for figuring out how much current a wire can carry is quite complex, most home inspectors rely on a simplified version of this for branch circuits:

Breaker or Fuse (amps)Min. copper wire size (AWG)

What Size Breaker Is Needed For An Air Conditioner?

The best way to easily and correctly figure out the right size is to look at the Air conditioner’s nameplate. The answer to your question “What size breaker is needed for an Air conditioner ?”  Can easily be found by looking at the information provided in the  “Max Fuse or Breaker” under the “Overcurrent Protective Device” entry in the plate. 

By taking a peek at these places, you can use the standard sizing charts to ensure the right wire size. If you are looking for a range, it’s between a minimum of 30 or 40 amps to a maximum of 60 amps. 

Read more: Are Arctic King Air Conditioners Any Good? Find Out Now!

Where Does The Circuit Breaker For An Air Conditioner Reside?

Circuit breakers play a crucial role when it comes to the health of your air conditioner. Circuit breakers protect your Air Conditioner from electricity surges and short circuits. They are basically lifesavers for your air conditioner. 

Circuit Breakers usually come in a box. The circuit breaker box is a grey metallic box that is located in these areas: garage, basement, closets, laundry room, or an exterior part of your home.

Why Do Air-Conditioners Need Their Own Circuit Breaker?

It is highly recommended that air conditioners get their separate circuit breakers. This recommendation is crucial for homeowners who are adding an air conditioner to a house that didn’t previously have one installed. This also applies to a home with outdated electrical work. 

If you are replacing your older air conditioner with a new Air conditioner model and there already is a circuit breaker, then you need to make sure that the amperage of the circuit is the proper amps for the new air conditioner. One excellent rule is if the air conditioner is 110-120 volts and the required amperage is over 7 amps, then it’s a safer option to install a dedicated circuit for the air conditioner.

Your HVAC professional technician will be able to give you a precise recommendation based on your existing electrical panel and the type of air conditioner you are installing in your house.

Circuit Breaker Maintenance

It’s absolutely essential to know the location of the main circuit breaker box and the circuit breaker panel in your home. Circuit breaker panels are always located inside your house. It’s either in the utility room or in the garage.

Labelling the individual circuit breakers by location and a few other pieces of information will help you determine if there is a problem and make it easier to reset the electricity to the circuits that are switched off. Circuit labels can be made of sticker labels or from label makers or even from normal paper. However, you have to be careful how you label and just list the circuit locations so that you don’t get confused with the locations and the information. 

Another thing you have to know is how to reset your circuit breakers or deal with other basic circuit breaker problems. In case a problem arises, you will have to reset a circuit breaker that has been switched off. Circuit breakers need to be turned all the way off and then switched all the way to the on position. 

If there is a flood or any sort of disaster where the entire electrical system has to be shut down, then you have to reset your circuit breaker after the power is restored and the mess is cleaned up properly. If any breakers are damaged, you will have to look into circuit breaker repair options. The best way to deal with a circuit breaker repair is by calling an experienced technician.

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Problems Of A Circuit Breaker 

Like every other electronic appliance, circuit breakers also face a ton of problems. These problems are stated below:

1) Miswiring: If there is a wiring problem within the inner workings of your electrical system, this could be the reason behind your breaker turning off when it shouldn’t. Problems with your electrical wiring can also be the reason why electricity continues to run through the circuit even when it is switched off. Electric shock and fire hazards that lead to deaths are common side effects of faulty wiring. 

If your house has not had an electrical safety inspection in recent memory, you owe it to your home and family to get this done as soon as possible. Your licensed electrician will be able to notify you if there’s unsafe wiring and how to deal with it. 

Some tell-tale signs of miswiring are: devices and outlets not working as well as they should or not turning on at all. You may also notice little shocks near light switches and receptacles. Also, if there is a weird smell or discolouration present near your electrical outlets, turn off power to the circuit at the breaker box and do not turn the circuit back on until a qualified electrician has inspected your house thoroughly. 

Sometimes burning plastic and electrical components emit a sulfuric, rotten egg-like smell. If, however, the rotten egg smell is not coming from an outlet or switch, there’s a possibility that you may have a gas leak in your house! Natural gas manufacturing companies have to add a chemical called mercaptan to the gas in order to alert consumers to its presence in the case of a gas leak.

List Of Best Circuit Breakers

There is a ton of circuit breakers in the market nowadays. However, not all of them are the best in their jobs. So, here’s a list of the best circuit breakers to help you out when you are buying a circuit breaker;

1) Square D HOM115PCAFIC Circuit Breaker

Direct connection to the neutral bar helps get the faster and easier installationIs quite expensive for  some
Fewer connections for a clear gutter at the centre of the load
Advanced electronic technology for the detection of arc faults and current cut off
Time-Saver Diagnostics for a faster troubleshooting
Compliance with NEC’s requirements for CAFCI protection

2) Siemens Q2100 Circuit Breaker

10,000 AIC rating to suspend more electric overcurrentsMight not work with panels from other brands
Easy installation to a Siemens enclosure through the insta-wire feature
Compatible with Siemens PL and ES load centres
Can work well when used in a generator subpanel

3) Blue Sea Systems Circuit Breakers

Easily accessible reset leverNo actual disconnection happens at times
An early trip to prevent the breach of amp rating
Good for automotive use too
Non-directional relay for usual operation during excessive power feed
Good customer service

4) Murray MP115 Circuit Breaker

Perfect and better replacement for old breakersCompatibility with panels from other manufacturers is not certain
Has a 10000 AIC rating
Compatible with Murray load centres
Fast and easy installation
Works as expected for a reasonable price

5) T Tocas Circuit Breaker

Ignition protection designWaterproofing happens to be inconsistent
Can handle motorhome appliances’ load requirements
Able to run a trolling motor without breaking down
Structured with a UL 94-rated thermoplastic

6) Square D HOM230CP Circuit Breaker

A thermal-magnetic breaker perfect for household setupIncompatible with load centres other than the one specified in the package
UL-listed as HACR type circuit breaker
Ability to work appropriately with a generator
Ideal and durable replacement for old trip switches

7) Stetion Circuit Breaker

Perfect for accessory and auxiliary circuitsThe reset arm can be defective
Has wire lugs and copper washers to improve conductivity
Works well with battery-powered applications
Passing performance and ageing tests, switch has been fully inspected
Trips at a low voltage rate to avoid further damage

8) Rkurck Push Button Circuit Breaker

Widely used with household and commercial applicationsAIC rating limited to 1000A only
Thermal breaker with easy-to-access push-to-reset buttonReacts to short circuits off-time
Ideal operating temperature of -10℃ to 60℃
Perfect match for a harbor freight air compressor

9) Connecticut Electric UBIP120 Circuit Breaker

Ideal replacement for Pushmatic breakersMissing parts and messed up wires
Great for home applications
AIC rating of 10,000 for the stronger interruption and device lifespan
ETL Intertek Certified for performance, safety, and sanitation

10) Siemens Q2125 Circuit Breaker

Snug fit to Siemens and Milbank panel boardsLong wires might not fit in this breaker
Works well with a tankless water heater
works as advertised and is user-friendly
Affordable breakers with guaranteed long service

Electrical Terms

When it comes to electricity there are tons of terms that most people can’t grasp the meaning of. So, here are some basic terms relating to the electricity running through the wires in your home.

 Voltage basically refers to the force of electricity flowing through the electrical wires. Voltage is entirely different from the amount of electricity flowing through the circuit. It is different in the same way that water pressure is different from the amount of water moving through a hose.

Amps are a different case entirely. Amps refer to a certain amount of electricity passing through a circuit. Amps are a measurement of volume rather than pressure. Amps refer to the volume of electrons passing through the circuit.

Watts is an estimated measure of the total electrical power used by an appliance which is the same as the number of volts multiplied by the number of amps.


The main purpose of this article was to answer your question, “What size breaker is needed for a 3ton ac?” So if you have read this article thoroughly you already know what size breaker you need for a 3ton AC unit.

The main question is whether a 60-ampere circuit breaker is needed for the inside (air handler) unit of an air conditioner. Less than 15 amperes are needed for the blower itself and then the rest for the backup electrical heating elements. Running a 20A breaker on a 3-ton air conditioner unit also works perfectly fine. 

Getting the right size and dedicated circuit breaker for your air conditioner is essential because it protects the air conditioner from electrical damage. 

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