What Causes Circuit Breakers to Trip?

Tripped circuit breakers are electrical issues that most homeowners face at least once. If you’ve run into this problem with one of your circuit breakers in San Jose, then read on to learn about some of the possible causes.

Purpose of Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers play an incredibly important role in protecting you, your family, and your property. The purpose of these safety devices is to cut off the flow of the electricity through an electrical circuit when the current running through it gets too high. By doing this, circuit breakers can help protect your property from electrical fires.

Causes of Tripped Circuit Breakers Circuit Breakers

An overloaded circuit is the most common cause of a tripped circuit breaker. In this situation, more electrical load is trying to go through the circuit than is safe, and this problem is caused by plugging in too many devices. As each of the devices is turned on, more and more electrical current runs through the circuit until it exceeds safe levels, causing the breaker to trip. Another common cause of a tripped circuit breaker is a short circuit. One type of short circuit occurs when one of the wires leading to the power plant, called a hot wire, touches another hot wire or the wire leading into the ground, called the neutral wire, which can allow too much current to run through the wire. Short circuits can also be caused by problems like ground faults, faulty wiring installation, damage to an electrical component, or plugging in an improperly wired device.

Troubleshooting a Tripped Circuit Breaker

If one of your circuit breakers trips repeatedly, then start considering what devices you are using. If you have several devices plugged in and drawing power from a single circuit, then unplug all but one of these. After doing this, if the breaker doesn’t trip again, then an overloaded circuit is probably the problem. If unplugging devices doesn’t solve the issue, then you may be dealing with a short circuit and should have an electrician look at your breaker box.
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