You probably know that the circuit breakers or fuses in your home are located in its main electrical panel. You also probably know that if all the appliances and lights in one portion of your home have gone off, it’s because one of those fuses have blown or a circuit breaker has tripped.
A tripped circuit breaker can be quite an annoyance, particularly if it happens at an inconvenient time. So, how do you prevent it from happening? Well, to do that, you first need to understand why a circuit breaker trips. Here are three common reasons:
An overloaded circuit is by far and away the most common culprit behind a tripped circuit breaker. This happens when too many appliances and light fixtures are switched on simultaneously, causing the circuit to draw in a greater electrical load that it can carry. Consequently, the circuit breaker’s internal sensing mechanism heats up, causing it to “trip.”
In other words, the circuit breaker serves as a safety device as it prevents the circuit from overheating and catching fire.
Another prevalent reason behind tripping circuit breakers, short circuits should be taken more seriously. A “hard short” occurs when a hot wire comes into contact with a neutral wire. This allows for an abrupt, uninterrupted current flow due to reduced resistance, which causes the circuit breaker’s tripping mechanism to activate.
However, in some instances, the circuitry isn’t the reason behind tripping breakers. Instead, it’s a device or an appliance that’s plugged in somewhere along the circuit. If the circuit breaker trips instantly after you’ve reset the breaker, chances are there’s a short circuit somewhere.
A ground fault is a very specific type of short circuit that occurs when a hot wire touches a metal wall box, a wood framing member, or a ground wire. Ground faults carry a very real risk of shock, particularly in areas that have high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Lakeview Electric LLC is one of the most trusted electricians in Reno, NV. If you would like to learn more about the common causes behind tripping circuit breakers, or are interested in our suite of electrical services, get in touch with us by calling 775-227-6305.