In every home there is a circuit breaker that is designed to prevent electrical injuries and fires, as a safety feature, though few realize their function. Designed to detect and stop excess current in its tracks, this mysterious device is electrically powered. The breakers will trip when they are overloaded or short circuit, which causes the circuit breaker to cut off the current to the problem line until the issue can be addressed safely. With that in mind, we at Sentry Electric would like to continue to share the fundamentals of the circuit breaker.
How Does a Circuit Breaker Work
In every home, the service panel contains a series of lever-operated circuit breakers that control and protect the circuits coursing through the structure. With the different size breakers in the box that are predetermined amperage loads, and each of the breakers are designed to shut off, or trip, during an electrical issue. The home and people inside are protected from electrical injuries and fires as the breaker trips once it has reached the limit, at which point the circuit opens to prevent the flow current to that specific electrical line or circuit.
What Causes a Circuit Breaker to Trip?
1) Ground fault: Typically, in areas with high moisture, such as kitchen or bathroom, but with GFCI are required by current electrical code for your protection.
2) Overloaded circuit: Extreme Christmas light display or dueling blow dryers can cause overload.
3) Short circuit: The short circuit is due typically to a wiring issue with an appliance for example due to the excess current being pulled.
Power Went Out; What to Do
Often found in the utility closet, basement, garage, hallway, or storage room, the circuit breakers are in a breaker box. If you are having a problem finding it, look for the electric meter outside the house, for safety and distribution, they are generally close. Should you lose power to an outlet or circuit breaker, first check to see of the circuit breaker was tripped. Once you know where the breaker box is, resetting the breaker is simple. The blocky switches mounted sideways have toggles, which should stand out when you open the door. As the toggles point towards the center, meaning they are on, and pointing outwards indicates the breaker is off, when the switch is in the middle, that is the breaker that was tripped. In order to reset the breaker, you have to flip the switch to the off position before resetting it to the on position. It will not reset if you do not switch it off first. If the breaker trips again right away, flip it off and call an electrician immediately.
Breaker Keeps Tripping; How to Fix
Understanding why the circuit breaker trips repeatedly is important. In rare instances, the breaker itself may be damaged. But generally, it could be cause an appliance is malfunctioning or the circuit breaker is overloaded with too many devices. In the event the circuit breaker trips continually, you see signs of sparks or fire, you smell a burning odor, or the breaker is charred, immediately shut it off and call an electrician. If you are unsure or doubt how to operate the circuit breaker, don’t and call the professional.