What Causes a Circuit Breaker to Trip and How to Deal With It

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Your circuit breaker is an important safety element in your home. This is because it keeps your home safe in the event of an electrical fault. When your home's circuit breaker starts tripping, you will have to reset it back normal. The circuit breaker is usually located inside your fuse box, either inside your garage or under your staircase. The primary use of your circuit breaker is to interrupt electric current when your home's electrical system becomes faulty. It does this so you can safely reset it and restore power in your home.

A circuit breaker is a safety device meant for protecting your home. Constant resetting and tripping, however, can become annoying for you. Therefore, it is essential to pinpoint why your breaker keeps on tripping. If you cannot get to the bottom of the matter, then having an electrical technician come by to do some diagnostics can save you a lot of unnecessary stress.

What Is a Circuit Breaker?

All business premises and homes, including yours, have a switching device that that is very important. Generally, this switch cuts off power to protect your property in case of an electrical fault in the circuit. This electrical system is typically located inside a fuse box or panel located in an accessible location.

Most modern electrical systems come with a breaker that switches off automatically in case of any trouble. You can reset it back afterward. The older versions, however, were meant to blow if the system was faulty or overloaded.

A circuit breaker will cut off electricity flow in case your electric system is overly taxed. It does so to prevent overheating of electric wire. If left unchecked, it can lead to an electrical fire in your home. Therefore, a circuit breaker is put in place to control and protect your home or business’ power system and any devices which are connected to the system. 

Circuit breakers can be managed it either automatically or manually. If the electricity flow is very strong or overloaded in your home, a switch will be triggered and trip your breaker to cut off your home's electrical supply.

What Makes a Circuit Breaker Trip?

When there is an electrical fault which remains unattended to, your breaker will keep on tripping. It does so to prevent any damage to your home's circuit. An electrical fault is mainly caused by faulty electric components, excess electric current, or a power surge.

Reasons for Circuit Breaker Trips:

• Short Circuits

A short circuit is one of the leading causes of a tripping circuit breaker. You need to know that they are potentially very dangerous. A short circuit occurs when there is some fault in your electrical system, and a naked live wire gets in contact with a naked neutral wire, or one of your plugged appliances has faulty wiring.

When a short circuit occurs in your home, it means that the primary electrical resistance has been overridden, and there is too much current flowing through the circuit abruptly. When a short circuit happens, a lot of heat is generated in the circuit. As a result, your breaker will then have to shut off the circuit by tripping. When this happens, you might sometimes notice dark or yellowish discolouration around your circuit breaker. It is a clear indication of a short circuit. You should contact a licensed electrician to help you out immediately.

• Ground Fault Surges

Short circuits and ground fault surges tend to behave similarly. However, ground-fault surges happen when a live wire comes into contact with a bare copper ground wire or the metallic outlet box connected to the ground wire. When this happens, an excess flow of electricity will generally occur, which in turn causes the circuit breaker to trip.

These kinds of electrical issues are not only inconvenient and dangerous, but they are also annoying. If your breaker trips often, it puts your home at risk of an electrical fire. Reaching out to electrical professionals to fix the issue can save both lives and your property. Therefore, try to be prompt.

• Overloads

A circuit overload is a common cause for your breaker to trip. It usually occurs when you burden a particular circuit with appliances beyond the number that the circuit can handle. This excess burden on the circuit can cause it to overheat hence putting all the lighting features and electrical appliances at significant risk.

Your circuit breaker is meant to accommodate a specific capacity of electrical current. If, for instance, you run a tumble dryer and a dishwasher in a single circuit, you might end up drawing around 20amps of electric currents. If you do this in a circuit that can only accommodate about 15amps, the circuit overloads. To prevent your appliances from roasting and the wires from overheating, your circuit breaker will trip. This will protect your electrical appliances and save you from a lot of monetary trouble.

In such an instance, to prevent your breaker from tripping out frequently, you will have to redistribute your lighting features and electrical appliances in your house. Alternatively, you can call a licensed professional to upgrade your electrical system. 

Importance of a Circuit breaker in Your Home

A circuit breaker in your home can be the difference between life and death. It is a very crucial part of the electrical wiring in your home as a safety feature. Circuit breakers keep the danger of electrical fires at bay in your home or business premises. Modern breakers work automatically as an electrical switch that protects your home's electrical circuits from potential electrical damage.

A circuit breaker is meant to detect any kind of fault and cut the system to hinder any further flow of electric currents in the circuit. If left unchecked, it can lead to a fire breakout. Even though circuit breakers are usually more costly than fuses, they are generally more preferred than fuses by most business owners and homeowners. Moreover, electricians and wiring experts also prefer them to fuses.

Choosing a Circuit Breaker for Your Property

Circuit breakers are available in various shapes and sizes. As a homeowner, you should seek the guidance of an electrician to choose what breaker suits your household. When installing a circuit breaker in your home, it is also crucial for you to have a conducive space to accommodate the installation.

People have their own requirements and needs. This means that you can choose any room in which to have your circuit breakers installed in. Whether it is in the kitchen, garage, living room, or even bedroom, the choice is yours. 

What Do You Need to Do When a Circuit Breaker Trips?

When the breaker in your fuse box trips, it is possible that either a single circuit or the entire circuit in your house is going off. Therefore, you must know what to do when your circuit breaker trips. It is crucial as you will be able to get your day back on track once again without the hassle of calling an electrician to come over and fix it for you. Below are some tips that might help you in the event that your breaker trips.

Have an Emergency Torch or Source of Light Nearby

When your circuit breaker trips at night, you might find yourself and your family in pitch darkness. Therefore, you must have an alternative source of light so that you can find your way around the house. You can either have a touch strategically located in your home or use your phone to illuminate your way around the house.

It is also prudent for you to have some form of lighting when you go check the fuse box because blindly feeling inside the fuse box without light can be very dangerous.

Steps to Follow if Your Circuit Breaker Trips

Step 1:

First, put off your electrical appliances. You must be prompt enough to turn off all electrical appliances that are attached to the faulty circuit. By unplugging off appliances connected to the affected circuit, you will be reducing the risk of another trip if you reset your breaker once again.

Step 2:

Proceed to turn off the master switch at the power board. This way, you will be cutting off electrical current to your home so that you can access the fuse box without any risk of an electrical shock.

Step 3:

Ensure you have a safety switch installed in your home: Your home should have a functional RCD safety switch. It is very crucial to have this switch to protect your family from electrical shock.

How to Prevent Your Home Circuit from a Potential Overload

In many areas of our lives, prevention is always better than finding a solution. Keeping a problem at bay is cheaper and easier than finding solutions to the problem. The same logic also applies to your house's electrical system. 

The tips listed below might help you avert a potential circuit overload in your home. Here they are:

• Do not plug in too many electrical devices in one circuit.

• Get a licensed electrician to upgrade your old circuits to meet higher electricity demand.

Electricians Can Check Your Breaker

A circuit breaker is an essential component of your home's electrical system. It keeps you and your loved ones from potential harm in case of a faulty electrical system. A breaker that trips often can, however, become a nuisance. It is also an indication that you need to find an electrician near you to come over and check out what could be the underlying cause.

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