It's important to know how circuit breakers work before you set out to find a solution to your problem, such as how to fix circuit breakers that won't reset, won't change, or are not functioning, etc. A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical device, the purpose of which is to detect an overload or a short circuit, and protect the electric circuit from being affected by any major damage. Sometimes, the switch on the panel trips, and this is how it senses and signals that there is a problem with a certain electric circuit, and stops the continuity of the electric supply, as it may cause damage to other electrical devices; this might even cause fire. There are different types of these breakers, and they are available in various sizes. These characteristics depend on the number of appliances or the number of electric circuits, the device needs to manage or support.
Why Doesn't the Circuit Breaker Reset?
Circuit breakers not getting reset is something that concerns many. Hence, what does one do in such a case. First of all, please note that before checking for a problem in these devices, one must check for short circuits and overloads. This is because, more often than not, it's not the problem with the unit, but it's because of the overloads at a particular circuit. Such circuits draws too much of power because of the appliances that are attached with it. Mostly, circuits in the households operate at 120 volts and 15 amperes (amps), and they are substantial enough to draw around 1440 watts of power. If this limit is exceeded, then the circuit breaker is sure to trip because of the overload. An easy way to check this overloading is to take a total wattage, by adding the wattage of the different appliances (printed on them) to the circuit, and checking if it exceeds the circuit rating.
Also, by unplugging the appliances individually, check for any short circuits that could be the reason behind the circuit breaker to trip. One of the most common reason could be the overheated wires connecting to the light fixtures. To check for any short circuits or faults in power outlets, use a neon receptacle analyzer. If you don't detect any shorts in the power outlets or the switches, then most certainly, it could be the result of a faulty circuit breaker, or a problem in the wiring behind the wall.
If the shorts are undetected, then replacement should be tried. Check the wires before you call for any professional help from an electrician. It is imperative that you turn off the power that connects to the service panel completely, while carrying out this process of replacement.
If your problem remains unresolved and circuit breaker won't change, then you don't have many options other than calling an electrician to detect the problem, and fixing it for you.