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My Breaker Keeps Tripping - What Should I Do?

Posted by Chris Corley on Feb 2, 2016 2:52:51 PM

light bulbHave you heard that sound from your breaker when it trips? It’s probably alarmed you once or twice, but its safety purposes are the important factor. A circuit breaker is an automatic device for stopping the flow of current in an electric circuit as a safety measure. To bring this down to everyday terms, a circuit breaker is designed to protect your house, household equipment, and yourself from overloading your electrical circuit. The only reason a circuit breaker trips is to stop the circuit from overloading and overheating more than what the circuit can allow. If your circuit does overheat, you will experience harmful problems such as damage to your electrical units and possibly a fire.

First Things First: Reset The Breaker

In order to reset the breaker, you will need to first locate the tripped circuit breaker in your panel box. A tripped breaker is a switch that’s not fully intact in the On or Off position. Be sure to turn the breaker completely off before turning it on again. Once the switch is turned to the On position, power should restore. If not, turn the switch off, then on again.

My Breaker Still Trips. What's Next?

If the breaker trips again after resetting it, you will need to rexamine the issue. One of the three causes below is a possibility of a breaker trip.

1. Circuit Overload

A circuit overload is the most common reason why a breaker trips. This occurs when electrical energy flowing through a circuit is more than it can handle. An easy remedy to this is to redistribute the power to other circuits. For example, if there’s multiple appliances connected to one circuit, move a couple to a circuit that’s less loaded to lessen the electrical energy. Be sure to check your connections and make sure circuits are not loose. You can do this by turning off the power, looking for loose wires by inspecting outlets and hot wires that connect from the circuit breaker to the service panel, and tightening the loose connection.

2. Short Circuit

If you have checked the circuit overload and there’s no issues with the electrical energy, your issue may be a short circuit. A short circuit is caused when a live wire touches another live or neutral wire, or there is a broken wire in the breaker. A broken wire is more difficult to identify because it can be any part in the wiring system that’s connected to the circuit or caused by an appliance plugged into an outlet. While this is is a serious and dangerous problem that should be diagnosed quickly, looking for a short circuit is very tedious. All of the wiring, plugs, and outlets connected to the circuit must be inspected for any sign of burning, cracked, or broken insulation with wires touching each other. Contact a licensed electrician for further assistance.

3. Ground Fault

If the above reasons are not what’s causing your breaker to trip, you probably have a ground fault. This occurs when a hot wire touches the ground wire or a metal outlet box. To fix this, make sure the hot wire doesn’t touch the ground wire or the metal outlet box.

Contact Corley

There are many electrical issues that come with a home. Here at Corley, we want to make sure you and your families stay safe. Be sure to check out other common electrical issues. If you have questions about home electrical maintenance and repair or would like to schedule a service appointment, we'd love to hear from you! Give us a call at 864-517-1251 or contact us online today!

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Topics: Electrical

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