Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Every household, at some time or the other, has faced problems with a constantly tripping circuit breaker. This article explains why it happens, and how to solve it.
HomeQuicks Staff
Last Updated: Feb 14, 2018
A circuit breaker is an electrical device which is fitted in the electronic panel of your home. It regulates the amount of amperes (amp) being sent out through electrical wiring. In normal homes, mostly 10, 15, 20 amp circuit breakers are used. The passage by which electricity enters in your house is through the circuit breaker box. It has various circuits fitted in it, each of which is protected by a fuse or a breaker. Rooms, having high energy-consuming electronics, have larger amp circuits. Sometimes, when you use too much electricity, the breaker trips to avoid a potential hazard. So, you can say that a trip is actually a life-saver. However, if the circuit breaker keeps tripping, it can be a problem, and something needs to be done about it soon.
The term trips, in this case, means that the circuit shuts off. The breaker switch trips off when it senses the electronic device consuming more than required electricity. By tripping, it protects the device, the circuit box, and all its wires from overheating, which may otherwise lead to an electric fire.
Causes
After the tripping incident, you go to the circuit breaker panel, and once you turn the switch on, it again flips. Now, there's something wrong for sure. At this point, you need to think what can be the main cause for this problem.
Weak Breakers
These are one of the most common causes of continuous circuit tripping. The circuit becomes weak over time, and also due to the overloading of electricity from time to time.
Overload Circuit
Overloading is the main reason for constant trips. All circuit breakers in the electric panel have different ratings. Now, if you insert heavy duty devices in a 15 amp then it is naturally going to consume more electricity which will cause it to trip. The circuit breaker shuts down due to overheating, so as to prevent a potential fire. To get a higher amp breaker in its place, learn more about circuit breaker replacement.
Short Circuit
This could be another potential cause of circuit failure. It is caused when the hot wire (black in color) comes in contact with another hot wire, or a neutral wire (white in color). Short circuits are usually caused when wires break.
Ground Fault
Ground fault happens when the hot wire (black in color) touches the ground wire (bare copper in color). It can also happen when the hot wire comes in contact with the electric panel, as it is connected to the ground wire.
Repairing the Breaker
If the circuit breaker won't reset, how to repair it? Keep a flash light with you, because you might need a good vision to repair it.
  • First, find out if the power has gone out in a single room or the whole house. The reason for the circuit failure may be because of the various electrical devices running in that room, or in the whole house.
  • For electrical safety, turn off all the lights and electrical devices of the affected area. Once you've done that, there is a higher chance that electricity wouldn't trip again.
  • Go towards the electric service panel with a flashlight. Check all the circuits, and see if they all are off. Once you've located the breaker, move it all the way to the off position. Now take it back to the ON position.
  • After turning it ON, wait for at least 20 seconds to see whether it will trip again. If it stays on, then you have repaired the circuit breaker.
  • If it trips off again, then it can be an internal wiring fault, or the wire must be broken. It would be advisable to call up a licensed electrician.
Follow the above given points, and try to solve the problem. However, if its still not manageable, it is better to leave it alone, and seek the help of a professional.
Circuit breaker installation close up
Repairman Cutting Wires With Pliers
Turning off the power