Window AC Keeps Tripping GFIC

white and black cords in surge protector

Window ACs are a great option for those who do not have a central AC. They can be quite effective in regulating home temperatures. Although they are not the best, they are way more affordable than central AC units. The beauty of Window AC units is that they are easy to install and can be purchased virtually anywhere.

Most DIYers prefer using window ACs due to their ease of installation. However, these units may be quite problematic if you are not sure about how to install them. Messing up with a simple component of the AC may make it unfunctional and lead to bigger problems.

Window AC Power Consumption

The tripping of the GFIC strip relates to power supply issues. To fully understand the problem, you must understand how these AC systems operate. Ideally, the AC system should be hard-wired to an independent circuit. This is because it has high power demands that may affect the performance of other devices in the house.

Your specific type of AC has a power consumption of about 230 volts, which should be installed on a 30 amp mini circuit breaker. Ideally, a 10/2 cable should be used in the wiring.

With these factors considered, the AC should work just fine without any tripping. However, if these specs have been met and the GFI keeps tripping, there are high chances that the AC has power problems.

The first idea that comes to mind would be opening the unit to see if it has loose wires. This is the worst move you could make. Even before you start messing up with the components of the AC, make sure you have looked at the GFI strip and the other parts of the device that are externally accessible.

How does a GFCI Work?

The GFCI is often confused with a surge protector. Most home appliances may require surge protectors. However, GFCI stripes are commonly used on high-voltage appliances. In simple terms, a surge protector protects devices against damages that may occur due to a power surge.

When there is a power outage, the chances of a power surge when the lights come back are high. Surge protectors also protect against lightning strikes.

The GFCI stripe, on the other hand, protects devices from ground faults. When there are ground faults, a device may show a reverse polarity error code. For devices that are not set to show error codes, the GFCI strip is designed to cut the connection.

The main reason why the GFCI would trip is if the device detects reverse polarity, which can be caused by a few things.

Why the GFIC Could Trip

If the GFIC strip keeps on tripping, there are only three possibilities. It could be due to incorrect wiring in the GFIC box- which could mess up the power supply- or due to water damage in the stripe.

Besides these two reasons, it could also be due to damages inside the AC unit itself. However, since we have already established that the AC was working just fine at the time of testing, let's just deal with the two possible problems.

Water Contamination in the GFIC Strip

The most common cause of GFCI tripping is water contamination. Even the slightest amount of water causing the power wires to come in contact will result in reverse polarity, which will lead to the GFCI tripping every time you turn the AC on.

For the case of the 18,000 BTU 230V unit (FRA184MT2), the connection for the power cables is centered around the box at the end of the power cord. Before checking anywhere else for the possibility of water contamination, check the box to see if it has water.

If it does not have water, you may want to check further for signs of water at the point where the cord connects to your AC.

You may use a blow dryer to try and blow all areas that may contain water. If the problem persists, you may want to consider the other available options.

Wiring Problems

The second issue that could cause the GFCI to trip is a bad connection. If a wire inside the box gets lost and attaches to the wrong end, there could be power surge problems.

These problems can be resolved by looking at the components to see if there are loose wires. If there are no loose wires, the next option might be opening inside the AC unit itself.


Installing a Window AC is quite a delicate task. If you do not have the necessary skills, you may end up messing with how the system works. To avoid causing any problems, always stick to the manual.

Further, you want to make sure you're not working in a wet environment. Water can cause serious damage to all types of electrical devices.