Your circuit breaker keeps tripping. You reset it and, almost immediately, it trips again. You’ve checked the circuits for overused outlets and your devices are well-maintained. As far as it can assessed, there aren’t any viable shorts or faults, yet the breaker is constantly going off. What’s going on with your circuit breaker and what can you do?
If you’re dealing with a similar situation, the likely cause of the program is a damaged circuit breaker. A damaged circuit breaker isn’t the type of thing that you can easily troubleshoot. Damaged circuit breakers require direct and immediate attention.
If you’re having issues with your circuit breaker
, here are some signs that mean you may need some professional help.
Miswiring of the electrical system
Miswiring occurs in the electrical system itself is one reason that your circuit breaker may be constantly tripping. Miswiring occurs if the system was wired wrong. Miswiring causes electrical devices to shut off improperly or not at all, continuously drawing power and consequently causing an overloaded circuit.
One telltale sign of miswiring is electrical shock. Electric shocks are harmful to any individual and destructive to every electrical device. If you’ve experienced a shock, you need a professional to assess and potentially rewire the system. You’ll also likely need a city rep or inspector to make sure that the wiring was updated to a certain standard and code. A full electrical system test is required to make sure everything runs as it should.
happens when you have too many power drawing devices plugged into a single circuit. The amount of electricity, or load, going through is too high for the circuit. It overheats and, in ‘self-preservation,’ the circuit breaks, tripping the breaker. This can damage or destroy the circuit, requiring rewiring, or the hooked up devices, requiring replacement.
How many devices are plugged into a circuit? Pay attention to the power that you’re running through a circuit. If you’re overloading it, try turning off the unused ones. Your best bet is to call a professional to make sure the circuit has been wired properly.
Circuit breakers may trip from the device itself. If the device has a high current draw, or requires a lot of power to run, and that draw exceeds the circuit the circuit overloads and the breaker trips. The easy solution is to remove the device from the circuit and put it elsewhere or stop using it altogether.
If the device is necessary, like in most homes or businesses, then the circuit will need to be rewire to handle a higher voltage or a circuit breaker will need to be added with a higher amperage (amperage, or amps, is a measure of electrical volume rather than pressure). A high amp circuit breaker can handle multiple devices or a few high power consuming devices. In order to make these changes, a professional must be called in. It can be very dangerous to try and do this on your own.
Best practices are to label your breaker boxes so you know where the power is flowing to and from. Make sure that the power is completely reset whenever a breaker box trips so that the problem doesn’t persist or cause further damage when power is restored.
Circuit Breaker Warning Signs
One simple warning sign that will tell you if you need help is the noise that your breaker is making. If your breaker is humming loudly or if you hear a breaker humming but it doesn’t trip, you’re in trouble. A humming circuit breaker means that the circuits are overloading and are dangerously close to breaking. In the worst cases, your circuit may ignite, causing a fire to your home or business.
If you’re having trouble with your circuit breakers, pay attention before it’s too late. Listen to the sound of the circuit breaker and pay attention to the temperature. When in doubt, call a professional to inspect and make sure your circuits are well within their load capacity.