What Causes Tripping Circuit Breakers? Information from an Electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ

July 15, 2016 7:30 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Having to regularly reset your tripped circuit breaker can quickly go from being a minor nuisance to a major issue. But what exactly causes circuit breakers to trip in the first place?

Circuit breakers “trip” to protect circuits from overheating and causing damage, which could include potential electrical fires. They shut themselves off whenever there is reason to believe something could damage the circuit.

There are three common causes of tripping circuit breakers: short circuits, overloaded circuits and ground faults. To resolve these issues, you may require the assistance of an electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ.

Short circuits

Short circuits occur when a “hot” wire (black) touches another hot wire or a “neutral” wire (white) inside one of your home’s outlets. Whenever these two wires touch each other, a large amount of electrical current surges through the system, which generates a lot more heat than the circuit is used to or has been designed to handle. As a result, the breaker shuts itself off.

Wires can cross and touch each other for a variety of reasons. It might be something as easy as a loose connection or bad wiring. It might also be the result of someone making a mistake while attempting to work with wiring.

You can check to see if there was a short circuit by examining your outlets and plugs. If you smell burning or notice any brown or black discoloration, the cause of your circuit breaker tripping was almost certainly a short circuit.

Overloaded circuits

This is the most common reason circuit breakers trip. In most cases, an overloaded circuit is caused by people running too many devices that consume a lot of power all at once from the same circuit.

So, for example, if your circuit can withstand 15 amps of electricity but you have 20 amps running through thanks to an air conditioner, TV, computer and chargers all being used at the same time, the circuit breaker will flip itself off so the circuit doesn’t get overheated and potentially start a fire.

You can avoid overloaded circuits by keeping power-heavy devices spread out across multiple circuits, and by avoiding using a variety of devices simultaneously on the same circuit.

Ground faults

Ground faults are similar to short circuits. They occur when a hot (black) wire touches a ground wire (bare copper) on the side of a metal box connected to the ground wire. The signs of a ground fault are similar to those of a short circuit. You should look for any black or brown discoloration, and sniff the area around the outlet to see if you can pinpoint a burning smell.

Depending on the type of issue you’re having with your home electricity, you may require the assistance of an experienced and highly qualified electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ to correct the problem. Never attempt to make electrical repairs yourself if you are not a trained electrician! To schedule your appointment, contact the team at Eavenson Electric Co. today. We look forward to assisting you!

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