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Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

Posted on: June 30, 2015

If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, it can be more than a little annoying. Not only do you have to deal with everything attached to that circuit going dead constantly, but you have to wonder what else that means for your electrical system. What causes a circuit breaker to trip, and is it dangerous? Will fixing it be expensive? There are a long line of questions to consider, but most of them can only be answered once you find the root of the problem.

We’re here to help! Contact Kolb Electric online or call our electricians at 877-287-1179 today.

Common Reasons Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

What causes a circuit breaker to trip? Typically, one of the following:

  • Overloaded breakers: Your breakers are overloading, meaning you’re attempting to pull more power from a breaker than they will safely allow.
  • Short-circuiting: If your breaker short-circuiting, wires are touching within your outlets. This is very dangerous, and requires immediate attention from a certified electrician.
  • Ground fault: You’re experiencing a ground-fault, meaning a “hot” wire is touching your neutral (ground) wire within the outlet.
  • Bad appliance: You have a malfunctioning or damaged appliance plugged into the outlet; this often happens with very old antique appliances, or very new appliances that you’re plugging in for the first time.
  • Large appliance: Plugging a heavy-duty appliance (microwave, fridge, etc) into a non-dedicated outlet can exceed the maximum amp capacity.
  • Damaged/old breaker: Your breaker is old, damaged, or worn out; you can troubleshoot this by removing a few electronics from the breaker’s load. If the breaker still trips, you’ve probably got a bad breaker.
  • Too many appliances: You have too many appliances plugged into a single breaker, or too many high-power (wattage) appliances on a single breaker.
  • Outdated panel: Your electric panel is outdated, or you are in need of a heavy-up.
  • Compromised wiring: your wiring is outdated, damaged, or compromised. This problem is very frequently accompanied by “burnt” smells and is quite dangerous to your home.

How to Reset Your Circuit Breaker

In four easy steps, you can reset your circuit breaker. You need to:

  1. Turn off all electronic equipment hooked to the tripped circuit.
  2. Locate the electrical service panel. It’s usually found in your basement or utility closet.
  3. Identify the tripped circuit. There will either be a red window next to the switch, or you’ll notice one switch slightly flipped toward the “off” position.
  4. Reset the circuit. Do this by firmly pushing the switch all the way to the “off” position and then back to “on.” Hopefully, this will correct the issue!

What’s Wrong with My Electrical System?

If your breaker continues to trip even after resetting it, there could be an issue with your electrical system. This means 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!

What Causes a Circuit Breaker to Trip in Your MD, VA, or DC Home?

Call Kolb Electric to Find Out!

If your circuit breaker keeps tripping and you’re located in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or Washington, DC, Kolb Electric can help. We’ll send a licensed electrician to your home or building to perform a thorough electrical inspection and diagnose the issue.

If we find that the issue can be resolved, either through tightening a loose connection, redistributing the electrical load in multiple outlets, or any other means, we will proceed with your electrical repair. However, a circuit breaker replacement may be necessary. Our licensed electricians can let you know if this is the best course of action for you and install your replacement for you.

Contact us today to find out what causes a circuit breaker to trip in your home or building and get a solution that works!

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