When too much electricity is flowing through a breaker, rest assured it will become overloaded and trip. This often happens in homes that are much older with older electrical systems and circuit breakers. Understanding why you repeatedly have a tripped breaker will certainly help to find the ideal solution to the problem and ensure that your home and family are safe.
What is a Circuit Breaker?
The electrical system in your home consists of electrical circuits and is controlled and continuously protected by a device that can immediately cut off the power to your home. This device is called a circuit breaker. Modern electrical systems have circuit breakers that perform these functions while older electrical systems are equipped with old fashioned fuses that when overloaded, blow out very easily. The primary role of the circuit breaker is to cut off the flow of any electricity in your home so as to prevent the system and circuits from overloading and overheating thereby avoiding a fire. It is pretty much an innovative switching device that, when necessary, will automatically kick in and cuts off the supply of electricity to your home whenever there is an overload or excessive flow of electricity.
Causes of a Tripped Breaker
There are a number of causes for a tripped breaker in your home. Here are a few of the most common causes.
- System Overloads – An overload is one of the most common causes of a tripped breaker. If you have an appliance or multiple appliances that are drawing far too much power from your home breaker, you are more than likely going to see the breaker trip. From ovens and clothes dryers to large refrigerator freezers and washing machines, the appliances that can pose this problem are many. An excess demand for electricity will cause the circuits in your home to overheat putting all the appliances that are running simultaneously at risk. A circuit breaker is designed to handle a specific capacity. If you have multiple appliances running on the same circuit but the circuit is not designed to handle that many amps, rest assured you will experience a tripped circuit that will protect any wires from heating up and damaging your appliances or causing a fire. If an overload occurs continuously, it is best to call in the professionals to identify the source of the problem and provide effective solutions. In many cases, it may be necessary to redistribute your home appliances to other circuits or in some cases, you may need to upgrade your system altogether.
- Short circuits – When short circuits occur, they can easily cause the breaker in your home to trip. A short circuit usually occurs when your electrical outlets suffer a fault and a live wire comes directly in contact with a neutral wire. They can also occur if there is a fault in an appliance or plug wiring, or if there is a loose connection. Typically, when short circuits occur it is because too much electrical current suddenly flows through a circuit causing an override of the normal electrical flow. When this happens too much heat is created so the breaker will trip and shut off the circuit avoiding a fire.
- Grounding Issues – If the breaker in your home is not grounded properly as per industry standards, a fire can result causing a grave amount of damage to your home. When a live wire comes in contact with a bare ground wire or with the metal box that the ground wire is connected to, an excess flow of electricity will occur and a tripped breaker is the result. Having a certified electrician inspect your breaker and ensure that it has a GFCI will ensure that your family and home are protected around the clock.
Electrical problems of all types including a tripped breaker can be very dangerous. If you notice that the circuit breakers in your home are continuously tripping, it is important to reach out to a professional electrician right away. You should never attempt to solve any type of electrical problem on your own. That is where the team of experts here at Gervais Electric, Inc. comes in. For more information about circuit breakers or to schedule a service appointment, be sure to reach out to our skilled and experienced professionals today. We look forward to our every opportunity to serve you and to ensure the overall safety of your home and family year after year.