When a circuit breaker keeps tripping, it might seem like a small problem. You may simply reset your circuit breaker, and move on.
However, this routine circuit breaker tripping may be a sign of a larger and more serious electrical problem. In fact, the main purpose of a circuit breaker is protect you and prevent any overheating that could lead to an electrical fire. So, if your circuit breaker keeps tripping, don’t just blow it off as “no big deal.” Now, what does a circuit breaker trip look like? A circuit breaker trip is when power in a specific room or part of your home is cut off. At the same time, power in other rooms remains on and unaffected.
Your circuit breaker keeps tripping, so what’s causing it? Well, their are three main culprits behind circuit breakers tripping. Each cause has it’s own distinct signs to look for, and solutions to end your breaker tripping. The three causes are: an overloaded circuit, a short circuit, and a ground fault. Now, let’s take an in depth look at each of these triggers behind why your circuit breaker keeps tripping.
An overloaded circuit is typically the reason why your circuit breaker keeps tripping.
In fact, regular overloads are a sure sign that it’s time to replace your circuit breaker. A circuit overload is occurs when you have too many electronically powered items plugged in and running at once. For example, doing laundry while also running your dishwasher, AND blow drying your hair. Since this issue does not pose any danger, the solutions are fairly easy. You can either power down some of your items, or plug them into different outlets all throughout your home.
The cause of a circuit breaker that keeps tripping might also be a short circuit. Short circuits can be extremely hazardous, so make sure you proceed with caution. A short circuit occurs when two hot wires make contact, and therefore generate a flow of energy. Energy, in turn, generates heat. This additional heat, may be too much for your circuit breaker to handle. Some common signs of a short circuit are: a burnt scent and black or brown coloration on outlets. Due to the hazardous nature of short circuits, always call a licensed electrician at the first sign of danger.
A ground fault is the final, and most dangerous culprit behind a circuit breaker tripping.
A ground fault occurs when a hot wire (black colored) makes contact with a ground wire (green colored). This can cause major electrical safety issues, especially in rooms where these wires may be in contact with water or heavy levels of moisture. The signs of a ground fault issue are analogous to those associate with a short circuit. One major difference between these two electrical problems, is that a ground fault issue can be caused by water seeping into your breaker box. The best way to avoid a potentially deadly ground fault issue is with a fully functioning ground fault interrupter. This device will help avoid overheating and cut off electricity completely at the first sign of trouble.