What Should I Do When My Circuit Breaker Trips?

5 Steps to Take When a Circuit Breaker Trips

A circuit breaker protects circuits from over currents. When the current flowing through a circuit is greater than the circuit is designed to handle, the circuit breaker cuts the current off. This does not protect a person from electrocution. That is the job of a safety switch, which is important to install along with circuit breakers.

There are many different situations that can cause a circuit breaker to trip. They include:

  • Circuit overload
  • Short circuit
  • Ground fault
  • Faulty appliance
  • Damaged wiring
  • Moisture

How Can I Turn the Circuit Back On?

Turning the circuit back on is easy. All you have to do is switch the toggle back to the “ON” position. However, you should determine what caused the circuit to trip before turning it back on. The following suggestions will help you:

  • Turn off lights and unplug appliances. If the circuit tripped because of faulty appliances, or because the load was too great, simply flipping the switch back to ON will probably just cause it to trip again. Take the load off first and then see if you can switch it on successfully.
  • Avoid water. Make sure your hands are dry. Stand on dry ground and preferably on rubber when you are dealing with an electrical panel.
  • Move the toggle switch from tripped to fully OFF. Then switch it back to ON to restore power.
  • If the device immediately trips again, you may have faulty wiring or another serious problem. Call an electrician.
  • If the circuit does not trip again, turn on lights and appliances one by one. By checking the circuit after each appliance and light is turned on, you can tell which appliance was faulty if the circuit trips again.

These steps should be able to help you determine if the problem was simply too many appliances running at once. For large problems, you will need professional help.

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