Everything You Need to Know About Tripped Breakers

October 27, 2021 3:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Circuit breakers are designed to detect when too much current is being drawn by one system. They trip and shut off when they detect an issue, preventing a dangerous over-current situation. Simply put, circuit breakers are lifesavers. However, it can be frustrating if you have one breaker that continues to trip. Continue reading to learn a bit more about breaker tripping to diagnose your issue.

Why do breakers flip?

The three main reasons breakers flip are due to a circuit overload, a short circuit or a ground fault. Here’s some more information on all three:

  • Circuit overload: Overloading the circuit means exceeding its amperage by plugging in too many appliances. This issue can be solved by plugging some appliances into different rooms. If you must have appliances on a single circuit, contact an electrician to install a dedicated circuit for you.
  • Short circuit: A short circuit often occurs when active and neutral electrical wires touch one another. This causes a large current surge, which trips the breaker to prevent fires or appliance damage. Short circuits can also be caused by loose connections, faulty appliances or even pest-related damage. Call an electrician to perform an inspection if short circuits are a common occurrence in your home.
  • Ground fault: A ground fault happens when an active wire contacts a ground wire, a grounded portion of the junction box or a grounded area of an appliance. This contact also sends a large current to the breaker, resulting in breaker tripping. Ground faults lead to nasty shocks and fires, but they are preventable with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets, which we’ll cover below.

How can you prevent tripping a breaker?

Now that we’ve covered why breakers flip, let’s learn how to prevent it from happening. Follow these tips to ensure you never have to deal with a tripped breaker:

  • Don’t overload one circuit: This one’s easy enough—just watch out for how many appliances you’re plugging into a single circuit. Never exceed 80 percent of the circuit’s amperage to avoid tripping the breaker.
  • Replace old electrical components: Appliances tend to draw more power as they age, and as they do so, they increase the risk of tripping your breaker. Consider replacing old appliances that hog up a lot of power, and always be aware of older electrical equipment in your home that may not be functioning as well as it once did.
  • Install GFCI outlets: A GFCI outlet acts like a miniature circuit breaker for a single outlet. When it detects too much power, it automatically shuts off. GFCIs should be installed on circuits for kitchens, bathrooms and any other area where moisture is prevalent. Talk to your electrician if you don’t already have GFCI outlets in your home.

Does your breaker keep tripping?

If you’re still dealing with constant breaker tripping after following the advice above, call our pros at Duke Electric Company. We’ll send one of our residential electricians out to inspect your entire system to identify and solve the problem.

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