A tripping circuit breaker can be frustrating – and dangerous. Those flickering lights and dark rooms could pose a fire risk.
If you’ve lost power to a part of your home, you’ll probably need to call a professional, since working with electricity can be highly dangerous. However, there are a few simple ways to identify the source of your problem and potentially fix it on your own.
Having a problem with your circuit breaker?
Contact Bell Solar & Electrical Systems for emergency electrical services.
What Is a Circuit Breaker?
A circuit breaker is a component in a circuit that moderates the flow of electricity through it. Circuit breakers help protect homes and buildings from electrical issues and damage. On a one-line house wiring circuit diagram, a circuit breaker will typically appear as a break in the line.
What Is Happening When a Circuit Breaker Trips?
When a circuit breaker trips, too much electricity is trying to move through the circuit at once, causing the circuit breaker to literally break the circuit. Too much electricity passing through a circuit can overheat the electrical wiring in your home or electrical devices, which can cause a fire or electrocution. It’s vital to find out what’s causing your circuit breaker to trip so you can prevent anything dangerous from happening.
Some of the most common reasons why your circuit breaker tripped are the following:
An overloaded circuit means that the circuit has more power flowing through it than it is designed to handle. This can occur when too many devices are plugged into one circuit, which trips the circuit breaker or causes devices to be underpowered. This problem is common in many older homes, as modern households tend to have many more electronic devices. If the problem isn’t fixed, your power will continue to cut out and you risk a fire.
Electrical Short Circuit
A short circuit is simply a new and often shorter circuit caused by objects, such as a wire, a tree branch, or water touching an existing circuit and creating a lower path of resistance for its current. This new circuit allows a surge of electricity to pass through (far above what the circuit can normally handle), which often damages it. A short circuit can produce a dramatic burst of energy and heat that causes fires or that can electrocute bystanders.
A ground fault is the unintentional flow of a current from a circuit to the ground. This is often triggered by a circuit coming into contact with a conductor that is connected to the ground, such as a person touching a wire. This can be deadly for individuals and destructive for property, and can occur easily in circuits that lack sufficient grounding. Many homes have installed ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) on power outlets to minimize the chance for shock or fire, and outlets without this technology can be more dangerous.
Appliances can trip a circuit breaker due to faulty wiring, overheating, a bad connection, or drawing too much power. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can also be dangerous. If the problem isn’t fixed, you’ll experience chronic electrical outages in your home, affected appliances may be underpowered, and you may be in danger of an electrical shock.
Signs You Need Professional Help for Tripped Circuit Breakers
You might need a professional to fix the problems with your circuit breakers, especially if you notice any of the following:
- Scorch marks
- Strange or burning smells
- Warm or hot components
- Old or damaged wiring
- Frequent tripping
- Fuses present
What to do When Circuit Breakers are Tripped
If you trip a circuit, you can try to find the source of the problem by:
- First, turn off the circuit and unplug all devices connected to it.
- Go to your circuit breaker or fuse box and either switch off the breakers or remove the fuses for the individual circuits that you want to disconnect.
- Next, move the circuit breaker switch back into the ON position, though you may have to move it fully to OFF first before doing this.
- Lastly, test the circuit by turning on lights and appliances connected to it, one at a time.
If you can fix these problems on your own, when is a licensed electrician required? If you notice your circuit has trouble when a certain light or appliance connected to it is activated, there could be a short circuit that needs to be repaired. If you have a fuse box, you could also benefit from modernizing your system with professional help. Also, if you notice any damage to the wiring inside the circuit or fuse box, a professional will need to fix it or your electrical system could start a fire.
Any electrical problem in your home is a serious matter, and making a mistake while trying to fix it can pose dangers to you, those around you, or your property. While you might be able to diagnose and even fix a simple problem on your own, anything beyond that requires expert assistance to safely fix. An emergency electrician in Las Vegas can assist you with a wide range of problems, including:
- Dead outlets
- Faulty wiring
- Regular electrical surges
- Frequently tripping breakers
- Lights burning out often
- Flickering lights
- Overloaded circuits
- Not enough outlets
Bell Solar & Electrical Systems is still providing emergency services to Las Vegas and Henderson residents. Contact us today and we can assist you with your electrical problems to keep your home safe.