What To Do When Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

When you experience a power outage, sometimes it is not total. Your air conditioner quits, but the lights in the house are all still running correctly. In this case, you are probably dealing with a tripped circuit breaker. Problems with circuit breakers can indicate a need to repair your electrical system, upgrade it, or fix an appliance. Here are a few tips to help you determine what to do.

How to Address a Tripped Circuit Breaker

There are plenty of situations that could create a tripped breaker, from a surge of power to a malfunctioning appliance. You can do a few basic tests from home to determine if it was a one-time thing or if you need professional assistance. Follow these steps to reset your circuit breaker.

Consult Your List of Circuits

Most property owners should know which circuits are controlled by each breaker. If you do not know which circuit is affected by the tripping, turn off all of them. Afterward, turn them on, one by one, to figure out where they are located.

Turn Off All Appliances and Devices on the Circuit

Unplug anything that does not have an off switch, like a microwave or television. It is not always apparent what is causing the trip, so you should aim to disconnect everything you can.

Turn the Breaker Back On

Once you turn the breaker back on, you can turn on or plug in the appliances and fixtures. In many cases, this step solves the problem. If it does not, you may notice that the circuit breaker tripped again. Do not repeat the process, as it indicates that you could have a larger problem.

Causes of Circuit Breaker Tripping

Circuit breakers can trip for a variety of reasons. A lightning strike can trigger it, although that is unlikely to happen regularly. Repeated circuit tripping shows a need to fix a bigger problem, such as:

  • Overloading the circuit with too much power draw
  • Crossing hot wires with neutral wires, causing a short circuit that trips the breaker
  • Ground faults, which happen when a hot wire touches a grounded appliance, outlet, or electrical box

These instances are likely to cause repeated circuit tripping. Flipping the breaker over and over again can put your electrical system and your home at risk.

When to Call for Professional Assistance

If you cannot fix the problem by resetting the breaker, you should plan to consult with a licensed electrician. In some cases, a tripping breaker means that you need to upgrade the circuit or get a new panel that can accommodate a higher amperage. Hotwires crossing neutral wires or touching grounded devices need a solution by a professional, as they can be dangerous. Hiring an electrician can ensure that the problem gets a complete fix.

Tripped circuit breakers are a hassle, but it is good to take them seriously. To learn more about your options for managing your circuit breakers, or to request an estimate, contact Tidal Electric Services.