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Top 5 Reasons Your Breaker Keeps Tripping

Posted on: September 17, 2016

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Everything seems fine, then POOF–your power goes out. Chances are, you tripped a circuit breaker. Electrical problems are one of those things that tend to make a homeowner’s stress level skyrocket. You’re not sure what’s wrong, but suddenly you’ve lost access to the power you depend on in your DC area home! 

A breaker can trip for many reasons. Below are the tops 5 causes of an electrical breaker tripping in your home.

Looking for electrical repair in Washington, DC? Contact Kolb today!

The Top Five Causes for a Circuit Breaker Tripping

A breaker trip comes as a result of a circuit tied to your circuit breaker exceeding its safe parameters. They can be identified by a sudden loss of power to specific appliances (those that used a dedicated circuit, like a fridge or microwave), or a loss of power in your home that is limited to a specific area.

There are a lot of issues that can result in breaker trips, but there are the ones our DC electricians address most often during electrical repairs in Washington, DC:

  • Overloads. A circuit overloading is easily the most common reason for a breaker trip. This essentially means you’ve just got too much stuff loaded on the breaker. Breakers have a “safe limit” of power to supply to your appliances and home. If this is exceeded, the breaker will trip. You’ll see this happen most often when you try to install a  new appliance where your electrical system cannot support it, or if you plug in a very high-power appliance like a space heater in an area that lacks the access to safe amperage.
  • Short circuiting. This happens when a “hot”, or active wire comes into contact with with other hot wires (for example, when a 120 hot touches another 120 hot). You’ll usually see blackening around the outlet, or smell burnt wires when this happens. And if you’re dealing with a short circuit, do not interact with your outlet at all. Leave the breaker tripped, and call in an electrician right away.
  • Ground fault. Literally a fault when attempting to “ground” your wires, a ground fault is fairly similar to a short circuit, if not identical. The difference is in the interaction. A ground fault is when a hot wire meets your grounding wire, and thus the safe “grounding” of your outlet becomes void and dangerous. Handle this the same way you would a short circuit; call an expert!
  • Appliance failure. Appliance failure ties to overloading, as a damaged, faulty, incompatible, or otherwise faulty appliance can draw more power than it should and initiate an overload. When you get a breaker trip, it’s a good idea to check all of the appliances related to that breaker. If any are hotter than usual, the problem may not be with the outlets or breaker, but with a specific appliance.
  • Storms. Lighting striking a nearby electric cable or your home itself can kill all of your breakers in one swift blow, or may only affect one or two. Usually the problem doesn’t last longer than the storm itself, but if you can’t get power back on, you should definitely call in for electrical repair in Washington, DC.

Looking for superior service and quality from your electrician? Contact Kolb Electric for electrical repair in Washington, DC!

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