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Why Is My Circuit Breaker Tripping?

Is there a breaker in your home that constantly requires resetting? If so, there’s an important question you need to ask – why is my circuit breaker tripping? Circuit breakers can repeatedly trip for a few different reasons, which A+ Heating & Cooling –Electrical explains below. Uncover the cause of your tripped breakers as well as what you need to do to correct this problem.

What Causes Circuit Breakers to Trip?

There are three main causes of circuit breaker trips:

  • Overloaded circuit
  • Short circuit
  • Ground fault

Below, learn how each of these issues is caused as well as what is needed to fix them.

1. Overloaded Circuit

The electrical circuits throughout your house are designed to handle a certain amount of electrical amperage. When the circuit draws more current than it can safely handle, the breaker controlling that circuit will trip. Once the breaker trips, the circuit is shut down and no more electricity can travel through that circuit until the breaker is reset. If the cause has not been corrected, the breaker can continue to trip in the future.

Primarily, overloaded circuits that result in tripped breakers are caused by using too many electrical devices on the circuit. Often, too many items or appliances are plugged into the circuit, causing the breaker to trip when one device turns on. This is because the amperage required to run that device is more than the amperage already in use to power other connected devices.

If you suspect a circuit overload is causing your circuit breaker to trip, try to unplug items from that circuit and relocate them to another circuit for power. You may be able to trace the source of the overload by unplugging all of the items from the circuit prior to resetting the tripped breaker. 

  • Reset your tripped breaker and give the circuit a few minutes to rest.
  • Plugin and/or turn on electrical devices one at a time.
  • If you plugin or turn on a device and it causes the circuit to trip, you’ll know the circuit cannot handle the electrical current needed to supply this item as well as the other devices on the circuit.

If you cannot find the source of the overloaded circuit, a breaker that continues to trip could be caused by loose or damaged wires or electrical connections. Your electrician can diagnose and repair this issue, as well as help you solve your overloaded circuit problem by installing a new dedicated circuit to safely power the necessary devices.

2. Short Circuit

Short circuits occur when an active electrical wire makes contact with a neutral wire. This increases the amount of electrical current moving through the circuit, which can overwhelm the circuit and trip its breaker. The breaker trips as a safety measure, as short circuits cause increased temperatures and a risk of fires.

The faulty wiring may be within an appliance or device cord that is plugged in, a faulty plug or switch, or damaged wires running throughout your home. Check cords to devices plugged into the circuit, and check for a snug fit between the plug and its receptacle. Call your electrician for service to have the short circuit traced to find the source of the tripped circuit breaker. Repairs may involve installing a new switch or receptacle or repairing wiring in the house.

3. Ground Fault

Your circuit breaker may also trip due to a ground fault. Ground faults occur when an active wire comes into contact with a ground wire, a ground in a junction box, or a grounded portion of a powered appliance. When this contact occurs, high amounts of electrical current travel through the circuit, which can lead to breaker tripping.

Ground faults typically occur due to damaged or faulty electrical equipment. Contact your electrician to make necessary repairs to prevent the risk of fire and electrical shocks associated with ground faults. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) may need to be installed to prevent tripped breakers due to ground faults in certain areas of your home.

Electrical Services in Ocean Isle Beach, NC

If you’re wondering why your circuit breaker keeps tripping, call A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical today. Our licensed electricians will find the source of your tripping breakers and make the necessary repairs to prevent future problems and improve the safety of your home’s electrical system.

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