What to do when a Circuit Breaker Trips

We all experience power outages from time to time. Frequent culprits can include:

However, sometimes you will go to check whether the lights in the entire street have gone out and realise that only you are suffering from a power cut. Stranger still, you only seem to be experiencing this in one part of your home.

For example, maybe the lights in your living room have cut out. Or all the electrical items on one wall have stopped working in your kitchen. What could the cause be?

More often than not, the answer is your circuit breaker. Issues with circuit breakers can be fairly common, and in many instances, you are able to remedy these for yourself. But you want to be careful and assess the situation before acting.

Here, we have collected some essential tips for what to do when a circuit breaker trips. Read on to find out how to restore power to your home and when to call the professionals to check for more serious faults.

Where is your circuit box?

Once you have established that the power outage is localised to your home and probably just to one room or part of a room, you should locate your circuit box. This is where you will be able to see the issue. Your circuit breaker switches will all be in the same ON position - except for the one tripped switch, which will have flicked down into the OFF position. Assess which switch is OFF.

Turn off appliances and turn on switch

Before you do anything with the switch, ensure that all the appliances and lights related to the tripped circuit are turned off. This will prevent a power surge and ensure that you are safe. Once you have done this, flick the tripped circuit breaker switch back into the ON position and test the appliances and/or lights. This should have solved the problem. However, you may find that this keeps happening with the same appliances, or more generally throughout your home. What then?

Is it overloaded?

If certain switches keep flicking into the OFF position, it could be as simple as an overloaded outlet. Outlets are only supposed to support so much power, so overloading them with many items can be a recipe for disaster. Try removing some of the appliances from the outlet (this can be especially common if you use a lot of extensions) and see if this improves the situation. In many cases, this might be the root cause!

Check the age

Age can be a common contributing factor to frequent circuit breaker trips. While your circuit breaker board should last for thirty or more years, it is worth checking how old it is if you have recently moved into a home. It might simply be outdated and need replacing altogether.

Another age concern is the age of your appliances. Older appliances can be a cause of circuit tripping and may need to be replaced with newer models that do not interrupt the flow of the electrical current.

Be aware of warning signs

There are some warning signs even before your circuit breaker trips, and these could indicate that your electrical circuit is becoming overloaded. You may have noticed that certain outlets are becoming increasingly warm or that your lights are dimming or beginning to flicker. You could also smell burning coming from your outlets or even hear a low buzzing sound coming from them. Whether or not your circuit breaker has tripped, all of these are serious indicators of a larger problem and should be assessed by a qualified electrician.

Do not attempt a replacement

If you believe that the cause of your frequent and irritating circuit trips is the circuit breaker itself, you might be tempted to attempt a replacement. Do NOT attempt this by yourself - you should always verify the cause of your issues with a professional and have them carry out any necessary works. This ensures that not only are you safe but that the job is done as quickly and cheaply as possible and that you are not storing up problems for the future.

Call a professional

One of the essential things to keep in mind is that you are not an electrician. A fully qualified, professional electrician will be able to diagnose the cause of your circuit tripping more accurately. If this only happens occasionally, this may be a fairly minor issue. However, if you find yourself having to flick switches back into place regularly, it could point to a more serious problem.

Don’t be afraid to contact your local electrical services professional to find out the root cause of your circuit breaker trips. You could be saving yourself time, money, and potentially even damage to your property in the future. Whether or not you require a full circuit breaker replacement or just some advice, an electrician will be able to guide you through the safest and most effective choice for you.

If you are concerned about circuit breaker trips, get in touch with Smillie Electrical in Melbourne to arrange an electrical safety check and more. Our professionals can help to ensure that your home or business is completely safe, fix ongoing problems, and reduce the chances of future issues occurring.

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