A circuit breaker is an essential part of your electrical system. They are designed to monitor the electricity flow through the circuit. If your circuit breaker trips frequently, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. It is not alarming if it trips occasionally. However, if it happens frequently, something is possibly wrong, and you should check it right away.
How to Know If It Is Tripping
You should check the electrical panel to find out if your circuit breaker is tripping. Once you open the front cover, you will find circuit breakers in two columns. If your electrical system is well-organized, you will know what each circuit controls. To find out the circuit breakers that are tripping, identify the ones in the opposite direction than others.
Every breaker has an “on” and “off” position. However, you will notice that the breaker that trips will be in a neutral position. It will neither be on nor off. If you want to reset the circuit breaker, you should first flip it off and then turn it on. Make sure you cover your face and stand to the side when flipping a breaker. You want to be safe in case of an arc flash.
Reasons That the Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
There can be various reasons for the breaker to trip continuously. It could be due to a short circuit or a ground fault. Whatever the reason, know that it can be dangerous. It is important to understand the reasons that cause a circuit breaker to trip frequently so that you can know why it happens and how to fix it. The five main reasons that the circuit breaker is tripping excessively are as follows:
Also, read more about: signs your house has major electrical problems
1. Circuit Overload
One of the main reasons for the circuit breaker to trip is circuit overload. This happens because of overloading a particular circuit and using it more than its defined capacity. When this happens, the circuit can start becoming overheated, thus putting all the connected appliances at risk.
For instance, if you have a television connected to a circuit that needs 15 amps but is now using 25 amps, that circuit will be damaged. To prevent damage and possibly a major fire, the circuit breaker trips.
This problem can easily be addressed by redistributing the load on the circuits and keeping them off the same circuits. Professional electrical installation services can help recommend the best load distribution to avoid a circuit overload. Another thing to do is switch off the devices to reduce the load on the breaker.
2. Ground Fault Surges
Ground fault surges can be identified through discoloration around the outlet. These are similar to short circuits. Ground fault surges occur due to a hot wire coming in contact with a bare copper ground wire.
They can also occur if the hot wire comes in contact with a metal outlet box that is connected to the ground wire. In this case, excessive electricity passes through the circuit, which can cause damage to appliances or cause a fire. Hence, the circuit breaker trips to protect from overheating.
3. Short Circuits
Short circuits are another common reason for frequent tripping of the circuit breakers. It is similar to a ground fault surge and can be very dangerous. A short circuit occurs when a “hot” wire touches a “neutral wire” in any of the electrical outlets.
This leads to an electrical surge that creates more than the required amount of heat, leading to damage. To prevent a dangerous fire, the circuit breaker will trip each time this happens. There can be various reasons for short circuits, such as a loose connection or faulty wiring.
The most obvious sign of a short circuit is a burning smell. You may also notice black or brown discoloration around it. If you experience any of these two signs, you should act quickly and consult an expert electrical company to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
4. Arc Fault
Another reason that your circuit breaker keeps tripping could be due to an arc fault. It happens when corroded or loose wires come into short contact, causing a spark or an arc. It can lead to an electrical fire due to the heat this connection generates. A common sign of an arc fault is a light switch that is hissing or an outlet that is constantly buzzing.
5. Defective Circuit Breaker
The above reasons are quite common for a circuit breaker to constantly trip and cause electricity disruption. However, if you don’t experience any of the above signs and problems, the circuit breaker may be faulty.
This could be because it is outdated and unable to work efficiently. Electrical products are susceptible to general wear and tear over time, and their efficiency can decrease. Replacing the circuit breaker, in this case, will solve the problem.
If the circuit breaker is no longer working efficiently, you may experience some signs. These include frequent tripping, a burnt smell, and the inability to reset the circuit breaker or the breaker box having scorch marks. In all these cases, you should call a professional electrician right away to replace the circuit breakers with new ones.
What to Do In Case Of Frequent Tripping
If your electrical outlet is overloaded, it can cause excessive stress on the circuit breaker. In this case, it will trip frequently and cause disruption. If you face this issue with the breaker, then you can practice the following to resolve it:
Unplug the Devices
If you find that the circuit breaker in a room is tripping frequently, then the first thing to do is switch off all the devices connected to it and unplug them. Doing this will protect your devices against a power surge. If your devices are on and plugged in, a power surge can damage them.
Check for Overload
If the circuit breaker in a room is tripping more often, then you should check for an overload. You can do this by turning the circuit off and unplugging all the devices in the area that the circuit controls. If by turning the circuit on, it trips immediately, it’s a sign of a short circuit and not an overload.
However, you can check if the circuit is overloaded by plugging all the devices again and pausing after each one. If, at any point, the breaker trips again, that’s your cue for an overloaded circuit, and you should not put any more load on that circuit. In this situation, it would help to redistribute the load between circuits evenly.
Check All the Reasons
If your circuit breaker in a particular room is tripping more than often, then you should look for all the reasons stated above and identify if any apply. This will give you an idea of why it is frequently tripping, allowing you to consult a technician to resolve the matter efficiently.
Reset the Circuit Box
Another thing that you can do if you are facing a frequently tripping circuit breaker is reset it. You can try this to see if it helps better the situation. To reset the breaker, switch it off, take out the fuse, and turn it on again.
Look For Faulty Wiring
If the circuit breaker is tripping more than usual and you can’t find anything wrong that is obvious, then the problem could be in your home’s wiring so you need to hire credible residential electrical services. It could be due to a loose connection or anything more complicated that requires professional assistance. Hiring a licensed electrical company will help solve the matter quickly and identify the right reason for causing the fault.
Replace the Circuit Breaker
If you find no physical evidence of a damaged circuit breaker, but it is still tripping very often, then it’s probably time to replace it with a new one. Always hire a professional electrical company to do the job. We will use the best equipment and have experienced resources who can do the job efficiently.
We have discussed the major reasons that can cause a circuit breaker to trip more than usual. You should be proactive in identifying the problem when it is happening in a particular room. However, sometimes it can only be because of an outdated electrical system or faulty electrical wiring in the house.
If you are facing such a problem, instead of putting yourself in danger, it is recommended to hire a professional electrical company to resolve the issue once and for all. HyGrid Eelctrical LLC has the experience and expertise to suggest optimal solutions for your electrical problems that enhance efficiency.
An upgraded electrical unit is necessary to live a safe and peaceful life in your home. Our service technicians can ensure your systems are upgraded, and any underlying issues are addressed. You can get in touch with us for a thorough inspection.