There is nothing more frustrating than trying to use an electrical appliance, only to have your circuit breaker trip again and again. Circuit breakers are essential for electrical safety in our homes, office buildings, and other establishments. However, when they keep tripping, it can be bothersome and disrupt normal activities in our homes and workplaces. In this article, we will discuss the reasons why circuit breakers trip, the different areas where breakers trip, a professional electrician’s view, troubleshooting tips, what you should never do, and the preventive measures you can take to avoid tripping breakers.
What are Circuit Breakers and Why do They Trip?
A circuit breaker is an electrical device that protects an electrical circuit from damage caused by overloading or short-circuiting. Circuit breakers automatically stop the flow of electricity when the current exceeds the circuit’s capacity, saving the electrical system from damage and fire hazards. Circuit breakers trip for various reasons, including overload, short circuit, and ground fault. An overloaded circuit occurs when too many electrical devices are operating at the same time, drawing more electrical current than the circuit breaker can handle. A short circuit occurs when an electrical conductor comes into direct contact with a ground wire or neutral wire. Ground fault occurs when a current-carrying wire touches the ground or when there is a fault in the grounding system.
Different Areas of the House where Breakers Trip
Circuit breakers can trip for several reasons in different areas around the house. Knowing where breakers trip the most and what causes it can help you prevent future occurrences. The following are the main areas in the house and common reasons why breakers trip in each one:
Kitchen appliances and electrical equipment
The kitchen area is where most electrical appliances are used, and since they operate simultaneously, they can overload the circuit, causing it to trip. The most common appliances that cause breaker tripping are microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers, and refrigerators. It is essential to ensure that each device is plugged into a different outlet and not in the same circuit.
Living and entertainment rooms
Living and entertainment rooms have multiple electrical devices, such as televisions, speakers, game consoles, air conditioning units, and lamps. The circuit breaker trips frequently in these areas, and this can be due to running too many devices at the same time or an overloaded circuit.
Bedrooms and bathrooms
Bedrooms and bathrooms are not heavy users of electricity. However, there are still a few appliances like hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors that can cause a circuit overload. Ensuring that high-wattage devices are plugged into different circuits can help prevent breaker tripping.
Home garages and outdoor areas
In garages and outdoor areas, you will find power tools, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other electrical appliances. Using several devices simultaneously can overload the circuit and cause the breaker to trip. Also, wet conditions can cause ground faults, which can result in breaker tripping.
Interview an Electrician
We spoke to an electrician, John Davis, who has been working in the electrical industry for over ten years. He explained that the most common reasons why a circuit breaker trips include overloading, short circuits, and ground faults. He advises homeowners to ensure that electrical appliances are plugged into the correct outlets and that they avoid plugging in too many devices along one circuit. According to him, it’s also essential to have high-wattage appliances like refrigerators, microwaves, and air conditioners plugged directly into a wall socket rather than a power strip. Lastly, home electrical systems should be regularly checked and maintained by a licensed electrician.
If your circuit breaker trips frequently, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the problem. You can follow these simple steps:
Step 1 – Unplug appliances and devices
If you notice the breaker tripping frequently when using a particular appliance or device, unplugging it can solve the problem. If the breaker does reset, plug in one device at a time to identify the cause of the problem.
Step 2 – Look for damaged cords
Check for any frayed or damaged cords, and replace them immediately. Damaged cords can cause electrical shortages, leading to breaker tripping.
Step 3 – Check exterior power source
If the above steps do not solve the problem, then check the exterior power source. Sometimes, problems such as downed power lines, damaged transformer boxes, or other external factors outside of your control can cause breaker tripping.
Step 4 – Call a licensed electrician
If none of the above steps solve the problem, call a licensed electrician. Doing electrical work without proper training and knowledge can be very dangerous and can lead to fires or electrical shocks.
What Not to Do
While troubleshooting the circuit breaker, it is essential to keep in mind some don’ts to avoid endangering yourself or worsening the situation. Below are a few things that you should never do:
Bypassing the breaker with foil or other materials
Some people try to bypass the circuit breaker’s system by wrapping wires in foil or using other materials to conduct electricity. This practice is dangerous and can lead to electrical shocks, fire outbreaks, and permanent damage to both the electrical appliances and the electrical system.
Ignoring the tripping breaker
Some homeowners might try to ignore the tripping breaker, assuming that it might reset itself or that it is just a minor problem. This can lead to long-term and more serious issues causing damage to the electrical system. It is always best to call a licensed electrician for professional help.
Solutions for Avoiding Breaker Trips
Prevention is always better than cure. To avoid circuit breaker tripping, you can take some necessary steps, including:
Install new circuits and outlets
If your electrical system is old, it might not meet the current electric demands. You can install new circuits and outlets or upgrade your electric panel to handle the current load better.
Modernizing your electrical system
Modernizing your electrical system is an excellent way to prevent breaker tripping. Replacing older wiring, circuits, and appliances can help your system meet the current demands of electricity, increase efficiency, and reduce the possibility of a circuit overload.
Regular maintenance and checks by an electrician
Regular checks by a licensed electrician can help identify minor problems in the electrical system before they become major, leading to breaker tripping. It is essential to ensure that the electrical system is checked and maintained regularly.
Tripping of circuit breakers may be caused by various reasons such as overload, short circuits, and ground faults, among others. It can be bothersome and dangerous if ignored or approached carelessly. In this article, we have highlighted the common reasons why circuit breakers trip in different areas of the house and provided some troubleshooting steps. However, working with electricity is not easy, and sometimes, calling a licensed electrician for help might be necessary. It is essential to keep in mind the do’s and don’ts and preventive measures to avoid future breakers tripping. This will help keep your electrical system running safely and smoothly.
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