Although the circuit breaker panel in your home is probably hidden away in the garage or outside, you shouldn’t overlook its importance. With all of its individual circuit breakers, this unassuming steel box helps protect your electrical circuits against short circuits and overloads.
Circuit breakers are specifically designed to interrupt the flow of electrical current when something goes awry. So why does your circuit breaker keep tripping? There are several potential reasons, and one of them will likely pertain to you. Let’s discuss what causes a circuit breaker to trip in detail below.
4 Common Reasons a Circuit Breaker Trips
If it seems like your circuit breaker keeps tripping randomly, chances are that it isn’t actually “random.” There are four common reasons why a circuit breaker trips — and one of them could be happening to you. Once you’re familiar with what causes a circuit breaker to trip, you’ll be able to prevent the problem from occurring in the future.
Why does your circuit breaker keep tripping? For the most part, there’s a good chance that a short circuit could be the culprit. Short circuits happen when a neutral wire comes into contact with a hot wire. When this problem occurs, your circuit breaker or fuse will undoubtedly react by tripping or blowing.
One of the best ways to prevent short circuits in the future is to inspect your outlets before using them. You should avoid using older, worn-looking outlets and those with visible burn marks. However, you may also be dealing with faulty wiring and other issues that can be more challenging to identify.
Are you struggling to get to the root of the problem? Don’t feel pressured to fix or diagnose the issue all by yourself. If you suspect you’re dealing with a short circuit but don’t know the source of the problem, it’s best to contact a licensed Houston electrician for help. Remember to put your safety and security first!
Overloaded circuits are another leading cause of tripped circuit breakers. In fact, it goes head-to-head with short circuits as the most common culprit. But why does your circuit breaker keep tripping because of a circuit overload? The reasoning isn’t too difficult to understand.
As the name suggests, circuit overloads occur when a circuit becomes overloaded with amperage. Circuits and electrical wires are designed to handle a specific amount of electrical power. When you exceed this amount — which usually happens when you have too many appliances plugged into a circuit at once — the circuit breaker will trip.
If you want to get to the bottom of the problem, you can perform a simple test. Before you try resetting the breaker, go around and unplug all of the devices that are connected to the tripping circuit breaker. Once you’ve done this, plug the devices and appliances back in and turn them on one at a time. If you plug in a device and it trips, you’ve identified the perpetrator! Usually, one of the most appropriate solutions is to install a new circuit for this device.
Why does your circuit breaker keep tripping after you’ve checked for a short circuit and overload? It’s possible that a ground fault could be to blame. Ground fault surges occur when a hot wire comes in contact with the ground wire in some manner. When this problem happens, it sends excessive electrical current to your circuit breaker. Of course, the circuit breaker ends up tripping.
You can keep this problem from happening by installing Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GCFIs) throughout your home. The National Electrical Code mandates that these GFCI outlets be installed in places prone to dampness. Think kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.
Bad Circuit Breaker
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping for no reason, you could be dealing with a faulty circuit breaker. Circuit breakers usually last between 15 to 20 years, although the exact lifespan can fluctuate depending on wear and tear. And AFCI life safety breakers need firmware updates every 3 to 5 years to keep up with modern appliances. If the breaker keeps tripping, produces a burning smell, and feels dangerously hot when touched, it is likely time to consider a replacement.
Is It Dangerous if Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?
As a busy homeowner, you might be tempted to simply reset the circuit breaker when it trips and go on with your day. However, a frequently-tripping breaker is cause for concern and should never be overlooked.
Circuit breakers are important safety devices that help you avoid dangerous situations like electrical fires. Now that you know what causes a circuit breaker to trip, you’ll want to determine the root of the problem right away and find a solution.
Contact Universal Home Experts for All of Your Electrical Needs
When your breaker trips randomly, it can be tough and frustrating to find out what’s causing it. At Universal Home Experts, our highly-skilled electricians are here to ensure that your electrical system runs as smoothly and safely as possible. We are highly familiar with what causes a circuit breaker to trip and can supply you with a reliable solution.
Whether you need help with outlets, breakers, or fuses, you can trust us to efficiently and accurately fix the problem. Get in touch with us today to schedule an electrical service in Houston, TX, and the surrounding areas!