Common Circuit Breaker Problems

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Circuit Breaker Troubleshooting: Miswiring Circuit Breaker: Electrical Load How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker Tripped Circuit Breaker: Circuit Overload Tripped Circuit Breaker: Short Circuit h! "oes the Circuit Breaker Trip hile Operating Certain #ppliances$ h! is %! Circuit Breaker Bo& Hu%%ing$ Circuit Breaker Basic Maintenance Circuit Breaker Ter%inolog!: 'oltage( #%ps and attage Circuit Breaker Troubleshooting: Electricit! Blinks or )lickers

Circuit Breaker Troubleshooting: Miswiring
So%eti%es the reason *or circuit breaker proble%s is %iswiring o* the electrical s!ste%+ Miswiring or electrical wiring %istakes %a! cause an electrical device to not turn o** properl! and continue running even a*ter the switch is shut o**+ #nother conse,uence o* %iswiring can be electric shock+ T!picall! the shock is not *atal but wiring inaccurac! can cause har% to individuals operating electrical appliances in the ho%e+ # proble% o* this %agnitude will re,uire rewiring the circuit or circuits that are a**ected and testing the entire electrical s!ste% to %ake sure it works properl!+ Miswiring can also cause appliances( switches and other electrical devices to not operate properl! or to not work at all+ hen rewiring or running new electrical wire in !our ho%e it is i%portant to %ake sure that the work is done b! a pro*essional and get an inspection *ro% the cit! to ensure that all electrical wiring and circuits %eet the electrical code and sa*et! standards+ -* !ou need to purchase electrical supplies *or a re%odeling pro.ect or circuit breaker repair then !ou can visit http://www+relectric+co% *or all o* !our electrical e,uip%ent needs+

Circuit Breaker: Electrical Load
0Load0 in electrical ter%s re*ers to the a%ount o* electricit! one circuit is designed to handle sa*el!+ Standard household circuit breakers can handle 12 to 34 a%p circuits in each individual breaker this is e,ual to the a%ount needed to run %ost light *i&tures and s%all appliances+ Larger appliances such as stoves( %icrowaves( dishwashers( electric clothes dr!ers( etc+ will re,uire a higher5rated circuit breaker( probabl! one that has at least a 34 to 64 a%p circuit rating The circuit breaker si7e is deter%ined b! the load o* the actual electrical circuit+ Each electrical circuit in the s!ste% will have an a%p rating and the circuit breaker si7e corresponds to the a%p rating o* the electrical circuit+ # certi*ied electrician is trained to handle these t!pes o* speci*ics when it co%es to circuit breaker installation and electrical wiring+ Ho%eowners should not atte%pt to wire their own ho%es or install and wire new circuit breakers+ hen dealing with circuit breakers or an! kind o* electrical s!ste% it is i%perative that !ou use co%%on sense and don8t tr! to atte%pt an!thing !ou are not trained to do+ Troubleshooting circuit breakers in !our ho%e should be done care*ull! in an! situation+

How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker
#n overloaded circuit breaker will switch o** in order to protect !our ho%e8s electrical s!ste%+ # tripped circuit breaker can be easil! reset b! *ollowing a *ew si%ple steps+ 1+ 1+ Locate the breaker bo& which will likel! be in !our utilit! roo% near the water heater( *urnace and air conditioner+ So%e are located in the garage+ 3+ 3+ Look inside the breaker bo& *or a circuit breaker switch that has *lipped o** or is so%ewhere in the %iddle between on and o**+ So%e breakers have a red window that shows when the breaker has tripped+

position and then turn it co%pletel! on+ <ou should hear a :click. in !our ho%e+ 1+ "o not plug a lot o* e.uip%ent into one outlet+ # television( ho%e entertain%ent s!ste% and two la%ps in one outlet are probabl! too %an! devices *or one circuit to handle+ 3+ Make sure there are not an! loose connections in !our outlets+ Have an electrician look over !our electrical s!ste% i* !ou suspect a proble%+ 6+ Turn o** devices that are not being used+ B! pa!ing attention to s%all details and practicing electrical sa*et! procedures !ou should be able to prevent circuit overload and %an! t!pes o* circuit breaker proble%s in !our house+ -* !ou do e&perience this proble% then *ollow the suggestions above to help solve a tripped circuit dile%%a+ -* !ou are not able to *i& the circuit breaker proble% on !our own then !ou %a! want to call an electrician to *or additional breaker repair+ Tripped Circuit Breaker: !hort Circuit # tripped circuit breaker proble% can be caused b! several things+ One culprit could be a short circuit which is caused when a hot wire touches another hot wire or a neutral wire+ T!picall! a circuit breaker will trip because o* an electrical current overload( but a short circuit electricall! can be a bit %ore serious+ This proble% is %ost likel! in the electrical wiring and should be corrected i%%ediatel! in order to prevent da%age or a %ore dangerous situation+ #n electrical short %a! be caused b! wiring inside the interior walls o* the ho%e or caused b! so%ething plugged into an outlet+ -* !ou suspect a short in a device that !ou have plugged into an outlet( !ou should *irst check the e&terior o* the cord+ Look *or wear on the outer covering or an! e&posed wires+ #lso check to see i* there is an odor or burned s%ell+ Brown or black discoloration can be a sign o* wires touching or da%age+ # da%aged cord should be replaced or repaired i%%ediatel!+ E&posed wires should never have electrical current *lowing though the%+ "h# $oes the Circuit Breaker Trip "hile Operating Certain %ppliances& -* a circuit breaker keeps tripping( the proble% %a! be with the electrical load *or that particular circuit+ The circuit breaker is part o* a circuit and is designed to handle a certain nu%ber o* a%ps+ -* the electrical current de%anded b! the appliances on that circuit e&ceeds the nu%ber o* a%ps *or that circuit( the circuit breaker will get overloaded and *lip o** in order to protect the electrical s!ste%+ #n overloaded circuit can cause the circuit breaker to overheat as well+ The solution to %an! circuit breaker proble%s is to add an additional electrical circuit and or circuit breaker that can handle a larger current load+ The circuit needs to have a higher a%p rating in order to handle high voltage electrical devices such as hair dr!ers and vacuu%s+ .6+ 6+ 9ush the switch to a *ull :o**. o* the switch when it is on and the power should be restored to the tripped circuit+ =+ =+ Once !ou have restored power to the speci*ic circuit then !ou should be able to operate electrical devices without circuit breaker proble%s+ -* the sa%e circuit breaker keeps tripping a*ter !ou have reset it then there %a! be a proble% and it should be diagnosed right awa!+ Since circuit breakers trip when the! detect too %uch power use( tr! turning o** so%e o* the appliances in the area o* the house that lost power and see i* that helps+ Consult a pro*essional electrician *or %ore co%plicated circuit breaker troubleshooting+ Tripped Circuit Breaker: Circuit O erload The %ost co%%on reason *or a tripped circuit breaker is circuit overload+ T!picall! this %eans that too %an! things are being operated or plugged into one electrical circuit outlet+ -* too %an! devices are powered in one location( the single circuit will be overloaded and will relieve the load b! 0tripping(0or switching o**+ Circuit breakers trip to protect circuits *ro% beco%ing overloaded+ The circuit breaker %echanis% is designed to protect the electrical s!ste% in !our ho%e+ There are a *ew things !ou can do to prevent :circuit overload.

uickl! shuts o** is t!picall! the result o* a circuit proble%+ Circuit breaker proble%s like this ste% *ro% the electrical circuit itsel*( so the circuit breaker %a! not have to be replaced+ The individual circuit %ight .ust list the circuit locations so that !ou don8t get con*used+ >now how to reset !our circuit breakers or deal with other basic circuit breaker proble%s+ <ou will have to reset a circuit breaker that has switched o**+ Circuit breakers need to be turned all the wa! o** and then switched all the wa! to the on position+ -* there is a *lood or other disaster where the entire electrical s!ste% needs to be shut down( then reset a*ter the power is restored and the %ess is cleaned up+ -* an! breakers are da%aged( !ou will have to look into circuit breaker repair options+ Circuit Breaker Terminolog#: (oltage) %mps and "attage -n order to understand what !ou are doing while troubleshooting a circuit breaker or atte%pting to replace one( !ou will need to understand electrical ter%inolog!+ Here are so%e basic ter%s relating to the electricit! running through the wires in !our ho%e+ 'oltage re*ers to the *orce o* electricit! *lowing through the electrical wires+ This is di**erent *ro% the a%ount o* electricit! *lowing through the circuit in the sa%e wa! that water pressure is di**erent *ro% the a%ount o* water %oving through a hose+ #%ps( on the other hand( do re*er to the a%ount o* electricit! passing through a circuit+ #%ps are a %easure%ent o* volu%e rather than pressure? the! re*er to the volu%e o* electrons passing through the circuit+ atts are a %easure o* the total electrical power used b! a device( and are e. or shut o** %a! %ake a loud sound and should be repaired or replaced in order to prevent an overheated circuit+ Sparking or a *i77ling %a! be the result o* a connection proble%+ -* this is the case then the wire needs to be tightened or the entire circuit breaker could need replaced+ # circuit breaker that %akes a hu%%ing noise as soon as it is turned on then .ust need to be repaired+ #n!thing unusual like a loud noise( %!sterious hu%%ing in the breaker bo& or heat radiation and sparking around the circuit breaker panel is not co%%on+ -* these t!pes o* situations occur( an electrical inspection should be done+ Circuit Breaker Basic Maintenance >now the location o* the %ain circuit breaker bo& and the circuit breaker panel in !our ho%e+ Circuit breaker panels are t!picall! located inside the ho%e either in the utilit! roo% or in the garage+ Labeling the individual circuit breakers b! location will help !ou deter%ine i* there is a proble% and %ake it easier to reset the electricit! to the circuits that switched o**+ Circuit labels can be %ade o* sticker labels or *ro% label %aker+ Be care*ul how !ou label and .<ou can visit http://www+relectric+co% *or a large selection o* industrial circuit breakers to use in !our ho%e+ "h# is m# Circuit Breaker Bo' Humming& # loud bu77ing or hu%%ing sound co%ing *ro% a circuit breaker should raise a red *lag and re.uires inspection+ So%e likel! causes o* loud hu%%ing noises in the breaker bo& are: # breaker that is carr!ing a signi*icant load but is *ailing to :trip.ual to the nu%ber o* volts %ultiplied b! the nu%ber o* a%ps+ Circuit Breaker Troubleshooting: Electricit# Blinks or *lickers .

hen lights or other electrical appliances start to blink or *licker( the proble% could lie in the wire or there %a! be a proble% with the actual electrical device+ # proble% that is isolated to one electrical appliance or *i&ture %a! be a proble% with that *i&ture( or it %a! be a sign that so%ething else on the circuit is drawing %ore power than the circuit can handle+ "epending on the source o* the proble%( so%e solutions include checking *or loose wires( replacing *ault! wires and *i&ing or replacing the electrical cord connected to the appliance that is causing the short circuit trouble+ -* !ou are not able to locate the cause o* the proble% on !our own( !ou %a! want to consult a pro*essional *or *urther assistance+ -* the trouble is in the wiring or with the %ain wire then !ou should de*initel! let a certi*ied electrician *i& it+ .