Understanding Why Circuit Breakers Trip And What To Do About It

While it can be frustrating, circuit breakers were designed to trip and stop break the electrical circuit to avoid overheating or a fire. If it happens once in a while, it is no big deal or concern. However, if it is happening on a regular basis, you need to figure out why and have the problem fixed. Here are the two main reasons your breakers will switch off.

An Overloaded Circuit

Electricity moves through your home, to the outlets and appliances in circuits. Each circuit can handle a specific amount of current going through it depending on what the amperage the breaker of fuse can handle. Everything you plug in to the circuit uses a portion of that amperage. If there is too much demand on the circuit (if you are trying to use 20 amps of electricity through a circuit that can only handle 15 amps) the breaker will trip, stopping the circuit and shutting off the power through it. To fix this problem, remove some of the load on the circuit. Figure out which circuits the outlets are on and plug appliances into different ones. If this is not possible, unplug items you are not using and be sure to not try to use everything at the same time.

A Shorted Circuit

Sometimes, the problem is not how much or what is plugged into the circuit, but crossed or loose wires within the circuit. You can usually tell a circuit has shorted when there is a bit of smoke or burning coming from an outlet or appliance just before the breaker trips. Power cords may look burned, the outlet may have a scorched mark, and there is usually a burning smell near the area. To fix this, you need to make sure the circuit is off, and then look for loose or crossed wires in the outlet or on the appliance. If you are not comfortable with this, it is best to call in a professional electrician. Of course, the more information you can give the technician, such as where you saw the smoke, or what was plugged in when it happened, the quicker he or she can fix the problem.

If moving appliances around to different outlets stops the breaker from tripping, it was probably just an overloaded circuit. You may decide to create another circuit, with its own breaker to keep items where you need and use them. An electrician can do this for you easily and quickly. However, if the problem is a shorted circuit, the breaker will keep tripping and could be a fire hazard if you keep forcing it back on. Either way, it is best to resolve the issue to avoid someone being shocked, or having a fire.

For more information, contact Central Heating and Cooling or a similar company.


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