October 7, 2019

Troubleshoot a Tripped Circuit Breaker.

When a breaker trips in your home, it’s due to overcapacity or a short: The breaker trips, stopping the flow of electricity as a safety measure. A tripped main breaker will cut the power off to your entire house.

SOME COMMON CAUSES CAN INCLUDE:

  • too many appliances;
  • appliances that require too much electricity;
  • damaged breakers;
  • inadequate wiring;
  • and lightning strikes.

TO RESET A TRIPPED BREAKER

First, find the breaker panel. Usually located in the basement or a utility closet, the breaker panel is often a large, gray rectangular box mounted on the wall.

Make sure there is no moisture on your hands and position yourself to one side of the panel. Circuit breakers are genuinely safe; however, standing to the side of the panel is a safety precaution in case of sparks.

Open the panel with one hand. Using both hands could create a circuit with your body (that could allow current to pass through).

If the breaker feels hot to the touch or is making loud noises, step away, and call a professional.

Locate the tripped breaker; these are small horizontal switches usually labeled by what area of the home they serve. The breaker will be in the off position or the middle between off and on. Turn the breaker off first then back to the on position. Check for power. 

NOTE: If you try to reset a breaker and it immediately trips again, do not keep trying to reset it — call a professional for an evaluation.

TO RESET THE MAIN BREAKER

First set all of the breaker switches to the off position. Locate the main breaker; this larger breaker is usually located at the top or bottom of the panel. Flip the main breaker to the off position—then flip it back on. Turn the main breaker off and on once again. Finally, turn each breaker back to the on position one-by-one.

If power is not restored, call the power company to check for an outage. If you’re dealing with an actual power outage — consider a whole-home generator. When the power goes out, a whole-home generator automatically kicks in to provide you with a seamless transition to power.

If the main breaker trips again, or trips repeatedly, you may have an outdated or overworked panel. Have a professional do an electrical check-up if you suspect an issue and you’re not sure how to correct the problem.

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