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Guest Post: Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

Posted by Ken Flournoy on Jul 6, 2016 8:00:00 AM

We here at Ken's Plumbing can keep your toilets flushing, drains flowing, and water heater hot, but we aren't much help when it comes to the electrical problems you may encounter. To help you understand one of the most common electrical problems faced by a home or business, enjoy this guest article from our sister company Hot Wire Electric in Greenville, South Carolina.

Circuit BreakerYou probably don't think of your breaker box too often, but right now your circuit breaker is tucked away in your home protecting all of your circuits and wiring from overworking, overheating, and starting a fire.

You see, your breaker box acts as the hub for all of your circuits and is designed to "trip" and turn individual circuits off if they become overloaded. One trip is usually no cause for concern, but constant tripping is your breaker box's call for help.

In this article, we walk you through how to reset a tripped circuit, and help you identify the cause of a serial tripper:

Your Circuit Breaker

How to Reset a Circuit Breaker

Resetting your tripped circuit is easy! Just head over to your breaker box and find the tripped circuit (it'll be the one that's neither on nor off). Moved the tripped circuit to the off position, wait a moment, then move it back to the on position. This should restore your power, but, if it doesn't, give it one more try before taking further action.

If Resetting Doesn't Help

If you've tried resetting your circuit breaker twice and are still without power, it's time to determine the cause:

  1. You may have an overloaded circuit: A circuit will overload when there's more electrical energy flowing through it than it is meant to handle. To offload some of the electrical stress, try redistributing the power to your other circuits. For example, if you have your refrigerator, washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher all connected to the same circuit, try moving your washing machine and dryer to a different circuit to lighten the load. While you're poking around in there, be sure to tighten any connections that appear to be loose.
  2. You may have shorted a circuit: A short circuit means there's something wrong with your wiring, which can be hard for you to identify without relying on a licensed electrician for help. And trust us, you definitely want to call a professional because each and every single wire, plug, and outlet connected to the circuit will need to be inspected for burns, cracks, or broken insulation — a dangerous and tedious job you don't need to take on by yourself.
  3. You may have a ground fault: Another wiring issue, ground faults occur when your wires come into contact with the ground wire or even with the metal of an outlet box. Lightly rearranging your wires so that they aren't touching anything should fix the problem, but, again, this is a job you should leave to the pros.

If you'd like a little extra peace of mind regarding the electrical integrity of your home or business, consider joining Hot Wire Electric's Diamond Club. With membership to our Diamond Club, not only will we put your household at the top of our service schedule whenever you need help, but we'll also perform yearly electrical check ups to make sure that we catch the little problems before they turn into big ones.

Electrical work is something you should never "DIY." Whether it's your home or your business that needs some work done, call Hot Wire Electric at (864) 679-4444 or click the banner below to schedule service online. Let us be the answer to all your electrical needs in Greenville, SC and the surrounding Upstate!

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Topics: Electrical