The circuit breaker is an essential safety feature for your home as it contributes to controlling electrical fires and injuries from occurring. But few realize what the circuit breaker actually does. This mysterious device is an electrically-powered marvel that detects and stops excess current in its tracks. Where some may be annoyed when circuit breakers trip, when they do, it is due to 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. Today, we at Peterkin Electric would like to elaborate briefly on the circuit breaker.
How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?
To control and protect the circuits, your home’s electrical service panel contains a series of lever-operated circuit breakers. At predetermined amperage loads, hence the different size breakers in the box, each of the circuit breakers are designed to trip, or shut themselves off. The breaker is tripped once it has reached the limit, at which point the circuit opens to prevent the flow current to that specific electrical line or circuit, thus protecting your home and occupants from fires and electrical injuries.
Common Reasons Why Circuit Breakers Trip
1) Short circuit: Resulting in excess current being pulled, the short circuit is due typically to a wiring issue with an appliance for example.
2) Ground fault: GFCI are required by current electrical code for your protection and are generally in areas with high moisture, such as kitchen or bathroom.
3) Overloaded circuit: An overloaded is frequently the result of dueling blow dryers or extreme Christmas light displays.
How to Reset a Circuit Breaker in the Fuse Box
The circuit breakers are in the breaker box, generally located in the garage, utility closet, hallway, storage room, or basement. Look for the electric meter outside your home if you are having a challenge finding the circuit breaker box. It is usually close the breaker box for easy distribution and safety. A circuit breaker may have been tripped if you lose power to an outlet or circuit breaker. Resetting the breaker is easy once you have located the breaker box. After you open the door, you should see toggles, they are blocky switches mounted sideways. To indicate the on position, these toggles should point towards the panel center, if they are pointing away, they are off. If you see the toggles in the middle, those are the circuit breakers that have tripped. Turn them to the off position before turning them on. It will not reset until you completely switch it off first. Should the breaker trip again right away, flip it to the off position and call a professional for analysis and diagnostics.
How to Fix a Circuit Breaker that Keeps Tripping
It is important to understand why a circuit breaker repeatedly trips. The breaker itself could be damaged, in rare instances. Another issue could simply a problem with the appliance itself, or the circuit breaker could be overloaded with too many items, which is causing circuit overload. You should call a professional immediately if the circuit breaker continually trips, you notice the breaker is charred, you smell a burning odor or see signs of fire; be sure to turn off the breaker until the professional determines the problem and advises you further. If you are unsure of the breaker box or uncomfortable doing anything with, call your professional.