A circuit breaker is a switching device that controls and protects your electrical power system and all the electric appliances and gadgets connected to it. It trips when too much electrical power flows through it and when it can’t handle the excess load. That means the electricity flow is cut off to prevent your electrical circuits from overheating and causing house fires.
When your breaker trips, you have to go to the breaker box and get the electrical power back on by flipping the switch. However, if the breaker keeps tripping, it indicates a problem within the circuits. Below are the common reasons that might be causing your circuit breaker to trip and practical tips to avoid them.
1. Short Circuit
One of the common reasons that might cause your breaker to keep tripping after resetting is an electrical short circuit. A short circuit is a contact between the live and neutral wires. If the wires come into contact with each other, they can cause your breaker to trip once you turn it on.
When the neutral and live wires touch, they usually cause a sudden flow of electrical current. As a result, the wires may overheat and even start an electrical fire. Some signs of a fault within the circuit are a burning smell or a discolored receptacle.
The short circuit might also be in an appliance rather than your electrical system. In this case, it’s advisable to allow your electrician to identify the source of the problem and troubleshoot the circuit. If you are not a professional, you can risk electrocution or cause further damage to your appliances by handling short circuit problems.
2. Overloaded Circuit
An overloaded circuit occurs when the electrical load exceeds your electrical system’s rating. Your breaker switch will trip whenever it detects an electrical current greater than the circuit system’s rated value. Without a breaker, the wires can overheat and start an electrical fire. The common signs of an overloaded circuit are warm receptacles, discoloration on switches, and burning smells. You might also notice dimming lights when you turn on some appliances.
You can address this problem by redistributing your appliances and electrical gadgets and keeping them off the same circuits. Turning off some of your devices can also minimize the electrical load on your circuit breaker. A better long-term solution is to upgrade your electrical system to match your energy needs and lifestyle.
3. Faulty Circuit Breaker
A defective circuit breaker can also cause the breaker to keep tripping after resetting it. Your breaker can become faulty due to a manufacturer’s defect or a loss of efficiency. In such instances, the circuit breaker can turn off electrical power even without an overloaded or short circuit.
If the breaker is the cause of the frequent tripping, it’s advisable to schedule a professional electrical inspection. Avoid tinkering with the circuit breaker panel if you are not a professional to prevent appliance damage, electrical fires, or electrocution.
4. Ground Faults
The other cause of a frequently tripping circuit breaker is ground faults. A ground fault occurs when the electrical current takes an unintentional path to the ground. This situation can happen when the live wire comes into contact with the ground wire or the outer casing of an appliance.
Like short circuits, a ground fault reduces the resistance within the conductor, leading to uncontrolled current flow. Your breaker will keep tripping even after you reset it if there’s a ground fault in the electrical system.
5. Arc Faults
An arc fault occurs when corroded or loose wires create a brief contact that causes a spark or an arc. As a result, the wires will create heat, risking an electrical fire. Some signs indicating an arc fault are buzzing from an outlet and a hissing light switch.
Partner With the Experts Today!
At Dawson's Electric, our skilled electricians are here to assist you if your breaker keeps tripping. Our team of professionals will investigate the problem and thoroughly inspect your wiring to fix the issue. We also offer electrical repair, whole home generators, electrical panels, EV charging, surge protection, and lighting services throughout Fuquay-Varina, NC, and its surroundings. Contact Dawson's Electric today to schedule your electrical system inspection appointment.