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Why Your Circuit Breaker Trips: The Causes and Solutions

A circuit breaker that often trips can be irritating. Making frequent sprees to check on your tripped circuit breaker in the cover of darkness without discovering the cause can be more frustrating. Dealing with lights that keep going on and off should be a matter of concern; you need to know the exact cause of the trips and find the ultimate solution.

How Does a Circuit Breaker Function?

A circuit breaker is an essential part of an electrical system. It plays an integral role in averting electrical fires in your home or office building. The device is in your home’s fuse panel and acts as a switch. 

A circuit breaker controls and protects electrical circuits. When there is an overload on the electric system, the breaker cuts off the power flow to avert grave fire incidents. This protects all your electrical devices connected to it. It’s, therefore, important as a homeowner to know the potential causes of a tripping circuit breaker to help you find a lasting solution. 

What Causes Your Circuit Breaker to Trip?

There are several underlying potential reasons why you have frequent circuit breaker trips.

1. A Circuit Overload

A circuit overload is among the leading causes of frequent circuit breaker trips. A breaker is designed to hold a certain amount of electric current. If the electric load overwhelms the circuit breaker’s maximum capacity, the breaker will automatically trip and cut off the power supply. 

One of the many reasons that can cause an overload is connecting various electrical devices with high power voltage. This will lead to overheating, causing your breaker to trip and prevent a potential fire breakout. 

2. Short Circuit Challenges

Short circuits are another underlying cause of frequent trips. A short circuit happens when live and neutral wires come into contact. The high current flow causes the circuit to overheat, resulting in a short circuit and black-out. A burning smell from your electric gadget is a sign of a short circuit, and you should take prompt action. 

3. Ground Faults

A ground fault is an incident when an electrical current unintentionally comes into contact with the earth. This can happen when the live wires carrying electric flow are exposed due to worn-out insulation, wiring issues, or water leakage into the electrical system. 

4. Defective and Aging Electrical Wiring

A home with defective wiring can cause your circuit breaker to trip. When the wires become loose, they can be exposed to external factors such as water, which will make the circuit trip. Incorrect wiring is also a safety hazard and can also result in trips.  

Rodents’ invasion into your attic can cause severe damage by eating your home’s wiring insulation. This will eventually expose the electric wires and result in electrical faults. 

Besides, aging and worn-out wires are potential causes of circuit breaker trips. The wires may affect the breaker’s performance, resulting in overheating, causing the breaker to cut off the flow of electric currents.

5. Thunderstorms and Lightning

It’s possible to experience frequent circuit breaker trips during the rainy season. Thunderstorms and lightning strikes can adversely impact your home’s electric system. The currents from lightning may cause an electric surge, leading to fluctuations in electric voltage. This will eventually cause your breaker to trip for the safety of your appliances and house wiring. 

Also, rainwater from frequent storms can find its way into electric switches and wiring, especially on outdoor electric fittings, causing regular trips. 

6. An Aged or Damaged Circuit Breaker

Like any other appliance, your circuit breaker can wear out and become outdated. An aged circuit breaker will malfunction, cutting off the power supply to your home and appliances. Besides, it may also fail to detect a power surge or overheating and will not switch off the power. 

Solutions to Prevent the Circuit Breaker From Tripping

As a homeowner, you can avoid frequent breaker trips by following the steps.

1. Remove All the Power-Draining Electric Devices From the Sockets

You need to identify the appliances in your house that consume high energy and unplug them when you’re not using them. In addition, if several people in your home or office use power-draining gadgets, ensure they are connected to different circuits. This will help to avoid overloading a single circuit. You can also find an alternative by having a professional electrician add an additional circuit.

2. Buy Energy-Saving Gadgets and Bulbs

Energy-saving appliances and bulbs can reduce the power voltage connected to the circuit. This will make the circuit work efficiently within its voltage-holding capacity. Also, buying energy savers will reduce your electrical costs and consumption.

3. Do an Overhaul of Your Old Home’s Wiring

Some old houses don’t have the suitable circuits to handle power in present-day electric appliances. This may result in frequent trips when you connect these devices. 

It would be best to consider fresh wiring or buying a new circuit breaker to avoid frequent trips. Contact an electrical expert to assess your electrical needs and schedule an appointment for new wiring.

4. Look Out for Appliances With Short Circuit Issues

Short circuits can be disastrous, and you should handle them with caution. First, you need to locate the device causing the short circuit. Then, switch off the socket and unplug the appliance. For more tests and recommendations, contact an electrical expert at Lightfoot Mechanical to prevent losses to your devices and home.

5. Install Power Surge Protectors

If you live in an environment that receives occasional rains accompanied by thunderstorms and lighting, you should install power surge protectors. This will alleviate increased power voltage from your devices and keep off dangerous power surges that can damage your circuit system.  

6. Ask for Electrical Emergency Help

Ground vaults are dangerous and cause severe harm, including death. If you suspect a ground vault, switch off the power from the main switch. Never try to repair a ground vault alone; contact electrical experts immediately for further advice and repairs. 

7. Replace Your Aging and Worn-Out Breaker

Inspect your circuit breaker, especially when there is a burnt smell at the main switch. If there are signs of aging or breakage due to wear and tear, call an electrical professional for necessary assistance.   

Schedule an Appointment With Electric Experts

A circuit breaker that frequently trips is a red flag. Besides, electrical problems are not a do-it-yourself task. For the above breaker-tripping problems, you need the help of a professional electrical company. At Lightfoot Mechanical, our client’s home needs come first. Since 1983, we have served clients in Weatherford and the surrounding North Texas region. 

We provide emergency services; you can reach out anytime for quick and timely assistance. You can turn to us as your preferred go-to partners for all your electrical needs and experience our customized services. Besides our electrical services, we also provide high-quality air conditioning, heating, plumbing, and generator services. Do not hesitate to contact Lightfoot Mechanical to schedule an appointment today for all your family’s comfort and safety needs!

Meet the Author
Gary Lightfoot

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, Gary Lightfoot took over his family business and continues to run it with the values and standards set 35 years ago

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