I have a breaker which is connected only to my Air Conditioning unit. It appears to have tripped at some point, based on the description on the panel for resetting the breaker. I don't think it was in a middle position, and I've tried pulling the handle to the off position and pushing the handle up to the on position, but it doesn't seem to reset. It looks to me like this red button should be going back down when I reset it, but it doesn't ever do that. I can't find more examples of this breaker (with the "red button") online.

It's not apparent that any electricity is reaching my AC unit; the motor doesn't run no matter the thermostat setting. The fuses appear fine. I think the red button must be telling me the breaker is tripped, but I'm not sure how to reset it.

What does the red button indicate? How do I reset it?

Wadsworth break panel (labeled service disconnect) with red button popped up

  • I pulled the handle to the off position (down). I've edited the question for that point.
    – Billy
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 23:29
  • what is in the other breaker? is it getting power? .... otherwise, you may have a fault in the AC unit
    – jsotola
    Commented May 20, 2018 at 23:46
  • The other breaker is fine; all of my other electricity runs through it and is working okay. Looks like I'll have to have someone look at the AC, just wanted to make sure I wasn't misunderstanding what the breaker was telling me, since it doesn't look like the usual switches to me, someone with essentially 0 experience with electrical stuff. Thanks for the help.
    – Billy
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 1:02
  • According to the printed label on the front of the box, the red flag is a trip indicator. The breaker is handle tied, although it unclear if the breaker has an internal common trip that would be required today. It seems your air conditioning needs service by a qualified tech, and possibly replacement.
    – Tyson
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 1:12
  • Typically when a breaker trips instantly, it is flowing well over 10 * the rated current. In this case that would be 300 amps X 240 volts equals 72000 watts. If it trips in .020 seconds, that's still 1440 watt-seconds aka Joules... or quite a bit more. Commented May 21, 2018 at 17:39

2 Answers 2


If the condition that made it trip in the first place is still there when you go to reset it, it will not appear to reset, because the problem is still there so it is essentially immediately seeing that problem and releasing the trip mechanism. There are two kinds of trip mechanisms in a breaker, thermal, which takes time and is there to protect against overloads, and magnetic, which is instantaneous and meant to protect against short circuits. So it appears your A/C unit has an internal short circuit, hence the suggestions that you get it looked at.


It's a trip flag

What you're seeing is an early form of "trip flag" or "trip indicator" on these breakers. Clearly, they're tripping for some reason -- as to why, you'll probably need an air conditioning tech to figure out.

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