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Dealing with Tripped Circuit Breakers

Posted on: October 17, 2012

How do tripped circuit breakers happen in the first place? An overloaded circuit is the most common reason for a breaker tripping and usually happens when a circuit has more electrical load connected to it than it really should have. Let’s say you have a 15 Amp circuit breaker that is protecting a 15 Amp circuit. If 20 Amps of current start flowing through it because a toaster, TV, radio and space heater were all connected to the same circuit and were on at the same time, then what you’re left with are tripped circuit breakers aimed to prevent overheating of the circuit.

Allow Kolb Electric, one of the premier electricians in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and all of Northern VA, to guide you through the process of resetting tripped circuit breakers, which is actually quite easy.

  1. Turn off all electronic equipment hooked up to that circuit in order to avoid disruptive power surges and equipment damage.
  2. Go to your electrical service panel, usually located in the basement or garage or in the room with your furnace and hot water.
  3. You must now identify the tripped circuit breaker. The tripped breaker will not be fully in the “On” position but rather in the “Off” position or even somewhere in between the two.  Some newer service panels now have breakers that show red by the handle when tripped.
  4. To reset the tripped circuit breaker, firmly push the switch all the way down to the “Off” position and then back up to the “On” position. You should hear a click as the switch snaps fully into the “On” position.

If your breaker continues to trip immediately after you’ve reset it, this is indicative of a direct short. Do not try to reset your breakers at this point. If these steps don’t help you resolve your tripped circuit breaker problem, it’s time for you to contact a quality electrician in Virginia who can uncover the source of the problem, which could be due to one of the following:

  • Weak compressor
  • Under-sized breaker or wire
  • Defective breaker
  • Loose breaker
  • Loose electrical connection
  • Weak capacitor

At Kolb Electric, we have specialized in providing professional electrical service since our establishment in 1925. Impeccable customer service and attention to detail has allowed us to become one of the top electricians in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax and all of Northern VA. We can help you end your tripped circuit breaker headache once and for all – Contact us today!

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