How to Reset Tripped Circuit Breakers

Posted On: May 29, 2016

The purpose of your property’s circuit breaker is to help protect electrical circuits from overheating and causing damage, such as an electrical fire.

To prevent this from happening, the circuit breaker will “trip” (automatically shut off), thereby cutting off the power to its designated circuit.

To regain power to your property, you will need to reset your circuit breaker – but before you do, it’s a good idea to understand why your circuit breaker tripped in the first place.

Why Circuit Breakers Trip

There are three main reasons why your circuit breaker will trip. These include an overloaded circuit, a short circuit and a ground fault.

1.) The Circuit Is Overloaded

An overloaded circuit is the primary reason why your circuit breaker will trip.

It occurs when a circuit is experiencing a larger electrical load than it should. There are a number of factors that may have led to an overloaded circuit.

The most common reason is that you have too many appliances and electronics plugged into one or more of the outlets connected to one circuit. Loose connections can be a cause as well, although this is less likely.

Before resetting your circuit breaker, lessen the electrical load by turning off and unplugging some of your electronics and appliances.

2.) The Circuit Shorted Itself

A short circuit occurs when a black wire touches another black wire or a white wire within your electrical system.

It can also occur if there is a break in one of the circuit’s wires.

Check the outlets of the circuit that tripped while the power is out. Look for damaged power cords, black or brown discoloration, the smell of burning and damaged wire insulation.

3.) Wires Touched (Ground Fault)

A ground fault occurs when a black wire touches a ground wire (which is bare copper) or the side of a metal outlet box, which is connected to ground wire.

This causes a type of short circuit that trips the circuit breaker.

How to Reset Tripped Circuit Breakers

Resetting a tripped circuit breaker isn’t too difficult.

First of all, you’ll need to identify the location of your circuit breaker panel that contains the circuit breakers for all of your property’s circuits.

The following are the steps you should take to then reset your circuit breaker:

  • First, make sure that it is safe to reset by either turning off or unplugging all of the devices that are plugged into the corresponding circuit.
  • You should be able to identify which circuit breaker tripped since it should be in the OFF position (often marked by an orange or red tab). If none of the breakers are in the OFF position, then wiggle each one gently – the one that is looser than the rest is the one that was tripped.
  • Reset the tripped circuit breaker by pushing it all the way to OFF and then to ON. One of the common mistakes is to flip it on and off – make sure it sits on OFF for a moment before flipping it to ON.

Electrician in Damascus MD

If you have any other issues with your circuit breaker and live in the Damascus, Maryland area be sure to contact us at Jaffe Electric today.

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