We’ve all done it: flick on one more electronic item and suddenly we’re in the dark. And then we’ve had to take a trip to either the garage or basement or outside the house to flick that switch. But here are some reasons why circuit breakers trip so you can avoid it next time:
This is the most common reason why circuit breakers trip and it’s a built-in function to protect your wiring and home. If any one circuit is bearing too much current — if you’ve got too much plugged into one room, probably — it will trigger a system that automatically cuts the current off, or breaks the circuit. For example, your 15-Amp circuit will be outfitted with a 15-Amp circuit breaker and any current exceeding 15 Amps will trigger the breaker. A circuit that bears more current than it’s designed to can overheat and start fires. If you’re tripping a circuit breaker, try moving some machines to other rooms. Sometimes a loose wire in an outlet can be the culprit. Check your outlet wires and the electrical service panel hot wire connected to the circuit breaker for any loose connections.
If you’re sure you’re not overloading your circuit with too many electronic items, you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Having a short circuit can be a bit more difficult to diagnose because of how small the cause of this problem is and how many places it can occur. A short circuit is caused by two wires making contact that are not supposed to — two hot wires touching or a hot wire touching a neutral wire. The trouble with this is that the bad wiring might be occurring in your outlets or even in the electrical item itself. If you can isolate it to the item, your home’s wiring is fine. You can judge this by testing out each appliance plugged in that room. If it’s not anything that plugs in, call an electrician.
This is a type of short circuit, but it occurs when the hot wire touches the grounding wire, which is bare copper. It can also occur if the hot wire is touching the metal outlet box. Essentially, the fix for this is to remove the two items from touching, just like with a basic short circuit. We don’t recommend doing this work yourself because there are quite a few safety concerns.
Hopefully understanding why circuit breakers trip can help you avoid the problem in the future. If your circuits are breaking and you’re sure you aren’t the culprit, call us today to help you!