Before we can answer this very important question, there are some things every homeowner should understand. First, your home’s circuit breaker, or breaker box as it is sometimes called, is the central hub of your electrical system. This box is where all of the electrical service enters your home and is directed to the various rooms throughout your house. But your circuit breaker is responsible for more than just blindly routing that power. It also functions as a safety feature by monitoring the amount of electricity flowing to the different circuits. And when the amount of electricity is unsafe, the breaker trips to interrupt the circuit.
But just like anything in your home, a circuit breaker can and does wear out. And when that happens, your house and every electric appliance and electronic device is at risk of damage or even an electrical fire. The best way to ensure your home’s safety is to prevent your breakers from continually tripping. And to do that, you need to know why the breaker is tripping and correct the issue causing the power surges. Here are the three most common reasons that a residential breaker trips:
A CIRCUIT OVERLOAD
Overloaded circuits are the most common issue in a home that causes a circuit breaker to trip. An overload occurs when there is too much demand for electricity. This overload could be due to too many power strips extension cords being plugged into a circuit, or too many high electrical demand appliances on the same circuit.
When a circuit carries too much electricity, it builds up an incredible amount of heat and can damage the appliances and devices. The increased heat can also begin to melt the electrical wire and insulation and start a fire. A functional circuit breaker will trip when it determines that there is an overload. But after being reset on a regularly, it will no longer trip and protect your home and devices. Removing some of the demand from a circuit that regularly trips is the best way to increase your safety and reduce unnecessary wear on your breakers.
A CIRCUIT KEEPS SHORTING
If a breaker keeps tripping on a circuit that is not overloaded, the issue is likely a short. A short circuit is very serious because it generates a significant amount of heat and can start an electrical fire.
A short is when the hot side of the electrical wire comes into contact with the neutral side of the wire. This short usually happens inside an outlet. But it can occur in other areas if the cable becomes damaged. When a short occurs, the breaker senses the intense heat and trips. The best way to correct a short circuit is to call in the pros from Circuit Doctors to troubleshoot the issue and repair it.
A GROUND FAULT SURGE
A ground fault surge is similar to a short. But in this case, the hot wire is coming into contact with the ground wire. The contact creates a significant power surge and places your entire home at risk for an electrical fire.
A circuit breaker that trips once is not anything to cause concern. But if you notice that a single circuit breaker in your home is repeatedly tripping, you need to recognize this as a problem. DO NOT merely continue to reset the breaker. This response will only increase the potential for a severe electrical issue or even a fire in your home. Instead, call (703) 463-9866 and schedule an appointment with a licensed electrician to investigate the problem.
Electricity is something that most people take for granted because we use it every day. But every homeowner should remember that if mishandled electricity can cause serious injuries or even death. Never evaluate and repair an electrical issue on your own. One mistake could result in damage to your electrical devices, a fire in your home, or a severe injury to yourself. Circuit Doctors offers 24/7 emergency service, so you never need to worry about unsafe electrical conditions. Just give us a call, and we will have the problem located and corrected for you as quickly and affordably as possible.