HVAC testing at 60 Degrees F

During an inspection today, I used the thermostat to start the A/C for a few minutes at 60 Degrees F. I do this to see if the compressor fires, not to test the temperature differential. After a minute or two, the circuit breaker tripped off, it is my understanding of A/C principals that the compressor should not be run for a long time at low temperatures and that a short test like this will not run HIGH amps and should not trip the breaker? Any input from a A/C guru?
Thanks George

I am not a AC guru. That should not happen. Defer the system to a
HVAC contractor.


A tripping breaker is an indication of a failing compressor. . .

Put a little oil and liquid refrigerant on top of that compressor piston and watch the amperage go up!

Do you know what a low ambient control is?

You may have locked up the compressor. Locked rotor average tends to trip circuit breakers.

Anyone testing air conditioning under low ambient conditions, I highly recommend that you do it from outside the house, not at the thermostat.

You can turn the circuit breaker off when you hear the compressor about to jump out of the condensing unit.

(1) Shouldn’t the accumulator catch this if the unit is only run momentarily?

The compressor crankcase heater may have failed and the refrigerant migrated to the compressor oil. Start up under that condition could lead to compressor pulling in foaming oil and locking up.

Not many a/c units have a crankcase heater!

It costs too much! :shock::roll:

Only Heat Pumps do.

my question why even take the chance?

good input thanks to all. george

He didn’t say it was a Heat pump. He said it was an HVAC which leads me to believe it was a standard air conditioner which does not have an accumulator (heat pumps do).

I live in a cool/cold climate. Just about everything I see up here is HP/AC.

60 degrees is not a low ambient condition. I don’t care where your from.

Somebody thinks so.

What’s your point?

Please enlighten me as to what a low ambient condition actually is…

I happen to be from the South (at this point in my life) and it gets down to about 21° at night and up to 60 during the day.
Do you think this is okey-dokey to run an air conditioner at 10 o’clock in the morning when it reaches 60?

70 psig is the design operating temperature for R-22 refrigerant.

What’s the saturation temperature at this pressure at atmospheric conditions at sea level?

Now please enlighten us as to what the saturation pressure is at 32°F for R-22 refrigerant.

What’s the pressure difference?

Does a freezing evaporator coil not potentially cause refrigeration slugging?

At what outdoor temperature does refrigeration pressures on the high side fall to a point where the back pressure falls below the freezing temperature? Don’t tell me it depends on the equipment.

Is it just slightly possible that cool outdoor air and no load in the house may cause a “low ambient condition”?

Please keep in mind that no one here is required to be certified to put a set of refrigeration gauges on an air-conditioning unit.
Please explain how everyone here will know when a low ambient condition exists without installing a set of refrigeration gauges!?

60 degrees is fine. My personal rule of thumb is 65 just to be on the safe side, but I’ve been known to fudge on that for a degree or two. Most of the AC operator manual I’ve seen actually list values less than either (down in the 50-55 range).

The breaker tripped because of a system problem, not an inspection problem.

George -

Lotta reasons an A/C breaker can trip (including a bad breaker) that have NOTHING at all to do with the ambient temperature.

If it was 34 degrees this AM and at 2:00 PM it hit 60 degrees and you turned the unit on / its possible you could send liquid back to the unit and cause a pressure that trips something BUT if that temperature scenario was not present - I would be more inclined to look elsewhere.

Regardless - Refer it to a HVAC contractor for service and correction.

Rule of thumb Now we are going back a few years Mind you, We where taught No heater it had to be 60 For 24 hours, As David said in this area it is 60 by 10.00 and be 25 at night.
I will not take the chance. Because some knuckle head ac guy will threw you under the bus to show how good he is.