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Why Circuit Breakers Trip

GE BreakerThe circuit breaker is one of the most important safety devices in your home and is vital in today’s world. Without circuit breakers, an overflow of electric current can lead to an electrical fire – this can occur just because of faulty wiring or equipment failure. This is why a circuit breaker is so imperative. When electrical wiring in a building has too much current flowing through, the circuit breaker simply cuts off the power until the problem can be fixed. However, if not properly used, the circuit breaker can trip.

The main reason for a circuit breaker tripping is because of an overloaded circuit. This happens when a circuit has more connected to it than it is supposed to have. When more current runs through the circuit than the circuit was intended to take, the circuit breaker is designed to, “break the circuit,” and it trips.

There are different ratings of circuit breakers that determine just how much current they let flow through the circuit. If a 15 Amp circuit breaker is protecting a 15 Amp circuit, and 20 Amps of current start to flow through it because a hot iron, television and small heater were all on and connected to the same circuit, then the circuit breaker will trip to keep the circuit from overheating.

How to Fix the Problem:

Your breaker most likely tripped because you just have too many things plugged into one outlet or multiple outlets connected to one circuit. So, try these solutions out:

  1. Move lamps, heaters, irons, hair dryers and any other devices that consume a lot of power to a different circuit that isn’t being used as much.
  2. Turn off some of the devices on the circuit so that you can lighten the load of the circuit breaker.
  3. Turn the power off and then check outlets for a loose wire. Also, check the electrical service panel that is hot wire connected to the circuit breaker to see if it has become loose. If they are loose, then retighten the connections.

If these suggestions do not solve the problem you may have a more serious problem, in which case you should contact your electrician.

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