How To Fix Air Compressor That Keeps Tripping Reset Button

It can be quite annoying when you have to stop to figure out why your air compress trips the breaker. That said, it typically points to a bigger problem within your air compressor, so you should never ignore it. So, what does it mean and what should you do when your air compressor trips the breaker?

Your air compressor trips the breaker when air and oil leak, or if there is a problem with the power supply. A damaged pressure valve can also trip your air compressor’s reset button, especially if it’s corroded. Try not to use your compressor for more than 20 minutes at once or else it will overheat quickly and trip the breaker.

Loose gaskets can also decrease the pressure within your air compressor and trip the breaker. The last thing you want to do is waste time that could be spent maximizing your work output just because your compressor’s breaker tripped again. Follow along as we explore why your air compressor trips the breaker and see what you can do to fix it.

Why Does My Compressor Keep Tripping the Breaker?

Whether it be oil leaks, valve problems, or worn gaskets, many things can trip your air compressor’s breaker. Even if you don’t know much about the mechanical side of air compressors, you can typically troubleshoot these problems if you simply inspect the unit. Let’s look at the main reasons why your air compressor trips the breaker and keeps shutting down.

Oil is Leaking

Oil leaks are among the worst problems for any air compressor. They waste time and can even permanently damage your air compressor. Oil leaks happen when the valves become loose or suffer damage.

Your air compressor can also leak oil if the seals are loose and corroded. The pressure within it will drop when this happens, and it can explain why the compressor keeps tripping the breaker.

Loose Gasket

Gaskets are important parts of any air compressor. They seal the gaps between joints to maintain normal airflow and maintain consistent pressure. Over time, gaskets can become loose and corroded, especially if your air compressor is in a moist environment.

Check the gaskets if your compressor keeps tripping the breaker. Loose and worn gaskets can trip the breaker which is annoying, but they can cause much worse problems than that. Worn gaskets cause air leaks which will make your compressor lose pressure, and it will become useless.

Air compressors typically blow hot air before tripping the breaker when the gaskets are bad. This is the first sign for many people that it’s time to replace the gaskets. However, you can stop this problem from happening if you inspect the gaskets daily or weekly before you use your air compressor.

Damaged Pressure Valve

The pressure valve is one of the most important parts of any air compressor. If your compressor keeps tripping the breaker, it could easily be because the pressure valve is damaged. As the name suggests, this valve helps regulate the pressure within an air compressor.

The pressure can rapidly fluctuate between high and low when this pressure fails, and that can be dangerous. This can throw the system off and it can be dangerous as too much pressure can even make an air compressor explode. Luckily most modern air compressors can sense problems like this before it’s too late.

In that case, your air compressor may trip the rest button and breaker and it will temporarily stop working. This gives you the chance to repair or replace the damaged pressure valve. You can expect to spend between $7 and $30 on a new pressure relief valve, but it will cost more if you hire a professional to replace the part for you.

There is an Air Leakage

Modern air compressors are designed to maximize efficiency. One such design feature is that many air compressors will trip the breaker if there is an air leak. While this can be annoying at the time, it can at least tell you to stop and examine the lines, valves, pipes, and tank.

Air leakages will lower the pressure in your air compressor and essentially make it useless. Leakages can also occur if you connect damaged air tools to your compressor, but this doesn’t always trip the breaker. Check the line, valve, tank, and lines each time you use your air compressor for leaks so you can catch the problem before it’s too late.

Weak Power Supply

Never use an extension cord to run an air compressor. The connection will be too weak and that can explain why your compressor keeps tripping the breaker. Use a wall socket instead to ensure a direct connection so you don’t experience power problems.

Otherwise, your compressor will keep tripping the breaker and you won’t get any work done. You can overheat the motor if you plug it into an extension cord. This can also break the capacitator which is necessary to start the motor.


People often push air compressors to the limit in the industrial setting. You can even overexert your air compressor at home if you use one in your garage for a hobby. While it’s tempting to push it to the limit, this can damage your air compressor and keep tripping the breaker.

Each air compressor is different, but you’re only meant to use most compressors consistently for up to 15 minutes at once. It’s important to read the manual that came with your air compressor to see how long the duty cycle is. The duty cycle refers to how long you can use the compressor before it needs a break.

You must give your air compressor several breaks per day and even per hour if you use it consistently. Otherwise, you can waste time as the compressor will keep tripping the breaker and it will take a long time to start working again. It’s much better to take 5 to 10-minute breaks than to trip the breaker and have to wait 20 minutes and set the compressor back up again.

So, What Does it Mean When the Air Compressor Trips the Breaker?

It’s a sign that oil is leaking or that you have a loose gasket when your air compressor trips the breaker. This can also happen when you plug your air compressor into an extension cord or weak power supply. The breaker will also trip if your air compressor overheats from excessive use if you run it for more than 20 minutes at once. Check the lines, valves, and pipes for leaks as well as air leakage can trip the breaker and shut your air compressor down.

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