What to Do If Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?

Circuit breakers can trip due to many reasons. Identifying the cause is crucial to ensure the safety of your home appliances. Find out the major reasons behind tripping circuit breakers.

Circuit breaker keeps tripping but you have no idea why? We can relate to the frustration. Circuit breakers are safety switches that protect your home appliances from the impacts of power fluctuations. If the power exceeds what your appliances can handle, the circuit breaks and cuts the main power supply. A tripped breaker can be replaced once the power problem resolves to restore the connection. Most households hire electrical services to perform such repairs. What to do if your circuit breaker trips every once? Let’s understand a few factors first. 

Why Does My Breaker Keep Tripping? Common Reasons 

Your circuit breaker trips for one of the many reasons. It is crucial to identify the cause timely and fix it to avoid rapid power problems. When determining what causes a breaker to trip, you may need a professional’s assistance to thoroughly check your house’s wiring. 

Circuit Overload 

A common reason why your circuit breaker trips is a circuit overload. To put the definition in simpler terms, an overload occurs when a circuit gets more power supply than it can handle. Excess power heats up the circuit and causes it to melt and trip. 

reasons behind an overloaded circuit breaker not tripped

Short Circuiting 

What can cause a breaker to trip if there’s no overload? Another factor why your circuit breaker trips is a short circuit. When a hot electric wire comes in contact with a neutral wire in one (or more) of your electrical outlets, a short circuiting occurs. Such cases allow large amounts of electric power to flow through the circuit, risking your home appliances. 

Ground Fault Surges 

Another common reason why breakers trip is ground fault surges. Similar to short circuits, ground fault surges occur when a hot wire comes in contact with a ground wire (typically made of copper) and allows more electricity to pass than the circuit can handle. 

Defective Circuit Breaker 

When determining what causes a breaker to trip, a defective circuit breaker can be one of the reasons. In some cases, a faulty circuit breaker itself is the reason for frequent tripping. Circuit breakers can lose their efficiency when poorly maintained over the years. Burnt smell around the circuit breaker might indicate there’s a problem. 

Arc Fault 

Why would a breaker trip if it’s brand new and doesn’t require any maintenance? An arc fault! An arc fault occurs when corroded or loose wires establish a short contact leading to a spark. Such wire interactions cause overheating in the circuit and (in worst cases) lead to potential fires. You can identify an arc fault by hearing a hissing or buzzing sound from a power outlet. 

What Should I Do When the Breaker Keeps Tripping? Basic Checklist 

If you notice your main circuit breaker keeps tripping, you may run a few basic checks before seeking a professional’s help. In many cases, circuit problems require timely assistance to prevent further power-related issues. While you wait for electrical service staff to arrive, you can do a few checks yourself to figure out why do breakers keep tripping. 

  • Unplug your electrical devices after turning off their power.
  • Remove the fuse from the circuit breaker and reset it. 
  • Check your circuit breaker for any of the above reasons. 
  • Switch your devices back on to determine the root cause. 
  • Check or replace your circuit breaker after ruling out the cause. 

The above checklist can help you quickly determine why your circuit breaker keeps tripping. You can call a professional for the last two-three steps if you are unsure about the cause. 

How Do You Fix a Breaker That Keeps Tripping at Home?

Fixing a breaker trip can be easy or difficult depending on the reasons behind it. To help you thoroughly resolve the issue, we have covered a few fixes below. 

Check for Overload 

Wondering how to fix a tripping breaker? Check all plugs and sockets in the house to make sure they are not overloaded. Unplug any appliances that do not need to be running, and check for loose connections or short circuits.

Check for a Short in Specific Appliances 

If you discover any faulty wiring, like worn out insulation or a broken wire, contact an electrician to have it repaired immediately.

Replace Faulty Connections 

Cut off any power from the breaker box by turning off the circuit breakers attached to it, then unplug everything connected to it. Use a circuit tester (or multimeter if available) to test each connection for continuity. Replace any faulty connections with new ones and reattach them securely in place to prevent breaker trips.

Redistribute Power Supply 

If you discover that the breaker trips due to an overloading of individual circuits, divvy up evenly the electrical devices connected on each circuit so that no one circuit is using more juice than necessary/the breaker can handle safely. This may require some reorganization of how your outlets and devices are arranged but will ensure there’s no longer an overload issue when the breaker is reset.

Ask McCarrick Electric for Essential Safety Tips 

When determining why circuit breaker trips, you must first ensure your safety. Wearing safety gloves and using proper tools is essential for running circuit checks at home. If you are unsure why your circuit breaker keeps tripping, schedule an electrical inspection instead of opting for the hit-and-trial methods. A certified electrician can help you prevent electrocution, fires, and appliance damages.  

McCarrick Electric is a trusted and experienced electrical services company that will work tirelessly to solve your circuit breaker problems. With over 25 years of collective experience, our family-owned business takes immense pride in providing cost-effective, detail-oriented, and trustworthy services. We value our customers, especially the first-timers who can avail themselves of a 15% discount. We also offer a 15% discount to our veterans.

Count on McCarrick Electric to figure out what causes circuit breaker to trip and troubleshoot your circuit tripping problems. 

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