5 Main Reasons Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Upside Down van (for Circuit Breakers)

Picture this: You’re in the middle of blending a smoothie or ironing your shirt, and suddenly the power cuts out. If your first thought is “not again”, then you’re likely dealing with a circuit breaker that keeps tripping.

It’s inconvenient, sure, but it’s also your home’s way of waving a red flag that something’s amiss with your electrical system.

The Role of Circuit Breakers

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand the role of circuit breaker. These safety devices are found in your electrical panel, and their job is to stop the electrical flow if they detect a problem on the circuit.

Basically, they’re the guardians of your home’s electrical domain, shielding you from potential danger by automatically shutting off the electrical power when trouble is detected.

Let’s focus on the five main reasons your circuit breaker is tripping.

1. Overloaded Circuit: The Common Culprit

One of the top reasons your breaker might be throwing in the towel is a circuit overload. This happens when too many electrical circuit appliances draw more electricity than a circuit can handle.

Imagine every device as a tiny reveller at a party hosted by your particular circuit, and suddenly everyone tries to dance on the same spot – it’s only a matter of time before the floor gives way. An overloaded circuit is similar: too much stress, and it’ll shut down to prevent damage.

To dodge a circuit breaker overload, balance your electrical load by not operating multiple energy-hungry appliances on a single circuit simultaneously. If you’re a lover of smoothies, for example, don’t operate the toaster, microwave and blender all at once if they share the same circuit.

2. Enter the Short Circuit

When talking about breaker trips, the term “short circuit” is bound to come up. A short circuit occurs when a hot wire touches another hot wire or a neutral wire in an outlet.

This can immediately trip a breaker by causing a surge of electrical current that the circuit cannot handle. It’s likened to a sprinter overestimating their ability and going too fast too soon, leading to a stumble − except with wires, and more sparking.

Keep an eye out for discoloured outlets or a burning smell around the electrical panel – these are telltale warning signs that you might have a short circuit at hand.

3. Ground Fault Surges

Ground faults are similar to short circuits but involve a hot wire touching a ground wire or the side of a metal outlet box connected to the ground wire.

This, too, creates an unintended path for the electrical current flow, causing the breaker to trip. Ground faults, especially in damp locations, can be particularly hazardous and can lead to electrical shocks.

4. Wiring Woes

Faulty wiring is often a silent issue that can cause the breaker to keep tripping.

Old, damaged, or improperly installed wiring creates a perilous scenario where the risks escalate of short circuits, electrical connection fires and even electric shocks.

Signs of faulty wiring can be subtle, like flickering lights or switches that are hot to the touch.

5. Faulty Appliances or Breakers

Sometimes, a faulty appliance might be the rogue actor causing your breaker to surrender. A damaged power tool or an old iron can overwork the circuit every time you use it.

Moreover, don’t forget the breaker itself can be faulty. Yes, even these safety switches have a lifespan.

To zero in on whether it’s a faulty circuit breaker or appliance, plug the suspect into a different circuit. If the breaker for that circuit trips as well, you’ve likely found your villain.

Should You Be Worried?

Now onto the nagging question: Should you be worried if your breaker keeps tripping? The short answer is yes. It’s not just an annoyance; it’s a serious safety concern.

Every trip could be the breaker’s way of preventing a dangerous electrical fire or protecting you from electrical shocks.

If you’re seeking the source of your tripping breaker, try this process:

  1. Start by unplugging all the devices on the affected circuit and then resetting the breaker.
  2. Next, plug the devices back in one by one until the circuit trips again to find the culprit.
  3. Once you discover what’s causing the issue, you can decide whether it’s something you can fix yourself or if it’s time to call in an expert.

When the Power Keeps Tripping

When your circuit breaker keeps tripping and your day is disrupted by darkness or silence during your favourite music, it’s not just telling you to play detective with your electrical appliances. It’s a clear sign an expert technician needs to step in.

At this stage, it’s crucial to contact a qualified electrician, so they can trace the issue to its source and fix it safely.

The Risks of DIY Electrical Solutions

While it’s a bold and self-sufficient move to tackle household fixes, electrical work demands professional attention. The risks associated with DIY electrical work cannot be overstated − improper handling can lead to serious consequences such as electrical fires, electrocution, or costly damages to your home’s infrastructure.

A circuit breaker that keeps tripping is a clear sign of such underlying issues that require not just a fix, but an expert’s analysis and intervention to ensure the safety and longevity of your home’s electrical system.

The Expertise of Professional Electricians

Licensed electricians bring to the table a wealth of knowledge and skills honed through years of training and experience. They have a deep understanding of building codes, electrical standards, and troubleshooting methods that are vital for effectively diagnosing and resolving persistent tripping breakers.

By enlisting a professional, you’re not just buying a solution for the present problem but also preventing potential future mishaps. These experts ensure repairs are completed correctly and safely, safeguarding your home against any risks associated with electrical faults.

Ensuring Safe Electrical Practices

Remember that a well-functioning electrical system is not a luxury but a fundamental component of a safe and comfortable home.

Treating each trip of the circuit breaker as a warning sign to take seriously and entrusting this critical aspect of your home care to electricians, reflects a commitment to safety and due diligence.

By bringing in a professional, you’re ensuring that the electrical heart of your home continues to sustain the vibrant life within its walls, free from the hazards that incorrect handling of such an intricate system might pose.

Make the Safe Choice

DIY repairs can be tempting, especially in the age of quick-fix YouTube tutorials, but not when it comes to your home’s electrical system. Hiring a licensed electrician ensures the job is done safely and to proper standards. Electrical work isn’t just about making things work; it’s about ensuring they work without posing a risk to your home.

So, if you’re dealing with a breaker that keeps tripping, don’t ignore it or put on your DIY hat. Call a professional electrician, someone qualified and equipped to protect your home’s complex circuitry.

Remember, a well-functioning circuit breaker isn’t just a convenience, it’s a necessity for the safe operation of your home’s power supply.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.

Last Edited on: 28th February 2024