3 Reasons Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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3 Reasons Why Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Is your circuit breaker tripping and you don’t know why? We’ve compiled a few of the most common reasons why this may be happening and what to do about it.

Circuit Overload:
The most common cause of a tripped circuit breaker is an overloaded circuit. This means that a circuit does not have the capacity to power all of the high-draw devices connected to it, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Without a circuit breaker, you run this risk of significant damage to all connected devices or even sparking an electrical fire. However, just because a circuit breaker can provide protection against an overheated circuit doesn’t mean that you should ignore the reasons why it may have tripped. Check for any appliances that may be overheating. This can result in an overloaded circuit, as it pulls in more amps than usual. If possible, try to redistribute your appliances or reduce the electrical load on the circuit by switching off appliances when you don’t need them. Otherwise, you may need a new set of wires in order to supply enough power to the areas that you find are tripping the circuit breaker most frequently.

Short Circuit:
Short circuits, one of the more dangerous reasons, occurs as a result of two electrical wires touching each other. Specifically, a ‘hot’ (black) wire and a ‘neutral’ (white) wire. To break it down, the hot wire carries 120 VAC power which the neutral wire provides a return path for. If these two come into contact, a great amount of current flows through the circuit, causing it to overheat and the breaker to trip. Check for the smell of burning around the circuit breaker and discolouration on the wires to identify if a short circuit has occurred. One of the most common reasons for a short circuit is loose or faulty wiring and insulation. It is always safest to call an electrician to help identify the cause and repair the wiring problem and circuit breaker.

Ground Fault:
Similar to a short circuit, a ground fault occurs when a ground wire comes into contact with a hot wire. While both the neutral and ground wires are connected to the earth ground, the ground wire is also connected to any metal parts in an appliance, like a microwave. A ground fault can be caused by things like water leakage or a defective ground fault current interrupter (GFCI). A GFCI is designed like a circuit breaker to quickly shut off an electrical circuit when there is a ground fault. If this fails, the heavy current may not be stopped and cause damage.