What Does a Circuit Breaker Do?
A mystery to most. These electrically-powered marvels detect and stop excess current in its tracks. They typically trip when there is an overloaded or short circuit, cutting off current to the problem line until the issue can be safely addressed.
How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?
Your home’s electrical service panel contains a series of lever-operated circuit breakers that control protect the circuits. Each circuit breaker is designed to ‘trip,’ or shut itself off, at predetermined amperage loads, hence the different size breakers in the box. To protect your home and family against fire and electrical injury if this limit is reached, the act of the breaker tripping opens the circuit and prevents the flow of current to that particular electrical line or circuit.
Most Common Reasons Circuit Breakers Trip:
• An overloaded circuit: This is when multiple loads (The power needed by an outdoor light, air conditionals, electric heaters and any other device) connected to the same circuits with all of them running at the same time exceeding the capacity of the electrical wiring.
• A short circuit: This is simply a low resistance connection between two conductors supplying electrical power to any circuit. This results in excessive current flow in the power source through the ‘short’, and may even cause the power source to be destroyed.
• A ground fault: This is an inadvertent contact between an energized conductor and ground or equipment frame. The return path of the fault current is through the grounding system and any personnel or equipment that becomes a part of that system. Ground faults are frequently the result of insulation breakdown. It is important to note that damp, wet and dusty environment requires extra diligence in design maintenance. Since water is conductive, it exposes degradation on insulation and increases the potential for hazards to develop.
How to Reset a Circuit Breaker
If you lose power to an outlet or area of your home, a circuit breaker may have been tripped. Once you find your breaker box, resetting the circuit breaker is easy. Open the door to the breaker box and look for the toggles (They look like blocky light switches mounted sideways.).
Most should be pointing towards the panel center, indicating the ON position. Toggles pointing away from the panel center are OFF. Toggles in an in-between position are the ones which have tripped. You must turn the breaker OFF before turning it ON again, else it will not reset. If it trips again right away, turn it off without resetting it, close the panel door, and consult Dudil Electric for more investigation.
If your home has a circuit breaker that repeatedly trips, it is important to understand the reason, to prevent it from happening again, and safeguard against electrical fire and injury. In rare cases, the breaker itself could be damaged, or you may unknowingly have a damaged/malfunctioning appliance or problem in the circuit itself, such as too many items on one breaker (otherwise known as circuit overload). If a circuit breaker repeatedly trips, or you see charred breakers, notice a burning smell or see signs of fire, turn off the main breaker to your panel and contact an electrical professional immediately. And when it comes to your breaker box, if you’re are unsure of anything, don’t mess with it. Seek professional guidance.
Frequently tripping breakers tripping you up? Stop flip-flopping around. Ensure the safety of your home with the help of Dudil Electric today.