Are you frustrated with your tripping circuit breaker? Then it’s about time you found out why it keeps tripping and fixed it for good.
As you may already know, a circuit breaker is an essential device in your service panel designed to break or trip the circuit when it senses an overload. It is one of the most efficient ways to safeguard your home from a fire.
You will most likely have to call an electrician and have them fix the issue that is causing your circuit breaker to trip. However, there are quite a few easy ways to identify the problem on your own and even fix it.
We have discussed these methods in this guide, so let's get started without wasting any further time.
Let’s first get the basics straight so that you don’t have any problem understanding what could be happening.
Your utility company provides electricity that runs through a wire into your service panel. Once inside the panel, it runs through separate circuits (wiring loops), powering various outlets.
Every breaker present on the panel has an off/on switch and controls an individual circuit. When a circuit breaker trips, it automatically switches to “off.” And you need to put it back on to allow electricity to run through the circuit once again.
A short circuit is one of the most common causes of a tripping circuit breaker. This occurs when two wires ( that should not be touching each other) inadvertently come in contact. Additionally, a short circuit can occur in devices, switches, or outlets.
When plugging in a device with a short, you will notice that it will trip the circuit almost immediately. If you find out that using a particular device, say the vacuum cleaner, causes the breaker to trip each time you plug it in, consider plugging it in another room.
However, when the breaker of that particular room trips as well, know that there is a short in the device. We strongly recommend not using the device till you fix it; otherwise, you might get a severe electrical shock. Also, if the circuit breaker trips every time you use a specific switch or plug your device into a specific outlet, stop using that switch or outlet.
This happens when more power flows through the circuit than it can handle. To investigate a circuit overload, go to your service panel the next time your circuit breaker trips and flick off all the switches in the troubled area. Also, be sure to unplug all electronic devices.
Put the circuit breaker back on, flick on the switches and then turn on the devices. Now, stay there for a few minutes to check whether or not the circuit breaker stays in place. Note that every time you plug in a device or switch on a light, it causes more electricity to run through the cables.
Consider trying this experiment again if you notice that the circuit breaker trips even before you plug in any device. But this time, make sure that you plug the devices in a different sequence. You will most likely have to try this experiment quite a few times to understand the number of devices you can plug in simultaneously before overloading the circuit.
Like a short circuit, a circuit overload is a common cause of a tripping circuit breaker. You can easily stop it from occurring by ensuring that you are running fewer devices simultaneously on any particular circuit.
The long-term and perhaps the best solution would be to let a licensed electrician update your home wiring to add a few extra circuits.
When electricity travelling through your home wiring diverts from its intended course and passes via an alternative path to the ground, it is an earth fault. It can occur for various reasons, but mainly when water from a leaky window or dripping pipe gets into a switch box or outlet.
As you know, water is a good conductor of electricity. So, when it comes in contact with damaged wires and wire connections, electricity jumps out of the circuit and follows the trail of water. This produces a spike in the electricity, causing the circuit to trip.
After the electrician confirms that it is an earth fault that is causing your circuit to trip, locate and fix the source of the water. Also, the damaged wirings would have to be replaced.
We have finally reached the end of our informative article. And we hope that it has helped you gain some valuable insights into the causes of your tripping circuit and how to fix it.
If you don’t feel confident enough to try out the experiments mentioned above, don’t hesitate to contact a local electrician and have them find out the root of the problem. Even though it might take a little longer, you can rest assured that a licensed electrician will resolve the issue permanently.
On that note, it’s time for us to wrap up. See you next time!
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