Four Reasons Why Your Breaker Keeps Tripping (And What To Do)
Most households today use way more electronics and appliances than ever before. We get a lot of calls at Your Home Solutions where people ask why a circuit breaker keeps tripping over and over again.
Sometimes, it happens once every couple of hours. In more severe cases, it happens every few minutes — the same room or part of the house keeps losing power.
Homeowners often misdiagnose or underestimate this problem. It can lead to other issues or even an electrical fire. And one of the worst things you can do is keep resetting the breaker over and over again.
That’s why we’re here.
In this article, we’ll run through the common reasons for a breaker to trip. Then, we’ll explain what to do about it and what not to do!
But, it’s always a good idea to have an electrician troubleshoot the problem. A lot happens in any home’s electrical system, and you can’t access all the wires and connections yourself.
Even if you could, there’s a massive risk of electrical shocks, injury, or creating other problems. It’s best left to the professionals.
So, keep reading to learn more. Then, call us at (215) 768-8102 to speak with a live electrician immediately. They’ll answer all your questions, and if you need service right away, we’ll send someone out no matter what time of the day or night.
Should I Be Worried if My Breaker Keeps Tripping?
A breaker that keeps tripping is a sign of a major electrical problem. If it only trips once in a while, you’re just overloading the circuit. If it’s constant, a more significant issue is causing a consistent, dangerous current surge through the house.
Meanwhile, letting the breaker trip over and over again weakens the breaker and wiring.
Imagine shutting a window by using a hammer to push it down. You can do it many times, but eventually, the glass will weaken and crack.
That’s what it’s like letting a breaker shut off the power over and over again. It’s meant as a temporary failsafe, not a regular occurrence.
Why Does My Breaker Keep Tripping?
Four common reasons for an electrical breaker to keep tripping are:
- Overloaded Circuit
- Short Circuit
- Ground Fault Surge
- Defective Breaker
An overloaded circuit is the most common and easy-to-fix reason for a breaker to trip. That’s when you’re trying to draw a large amount of power through one circuit — more than the wiring and panel are designed to handle.
The breaker shuts off to stop the flow of electricity before a fire or other damage occurs.
Another sign of an overloaded circuit is the lights dimming when you turn on another appliance or electronic device.
You can troubleshoot this by turning off the last appliance you turned on or unplugging the last thing you plugged into an electrical outlet in the affected room. Then, reset the breaker.
If that doesn’t work, turn off everything in the room. Reset the breaker again, and plug or turn things on one by one.
Call an electrician if it’s still tripping after those steps.
A short circuit is when the electrical current in your home doesn’t take the right pathway to your outlets or switches. That results in a surge of power coming through the panel, which trips the breaker.
It’s called a short because the pathway is often shorter than the electrical circuit the power should follow.
Another sign of a short circuit is a burning smell in the house. If you notice that along with the breaker tripping, shut off the power from the panel and call an electrician immediately.
Ground Fault Surge
Ground wires create a pathway for excess electricity to exit your house safely and go into the ground. When they’re damaged or interrupted, you get a dangerous surge of electricity through the house.
A ground fault surge is similar to a short circuit. In this case, the electrical current bypasses the wiring design in a way that can damage your electrical system and home.
You’ve probably heard of GFI or GFCI outlets. They’re the ones you have in a kitchen or bathroom with red and black buttons in the middle.
Those are ground fault circuit interrupters. They prevent severe electrical shocks by cutting the power to that outlet if there’s a sudden difference in the amount of power flowing to it.
On a larger scale, a breaker in your electrical panel will keep tripping if a ground fault surge keeps resulting in an overload of electricity.
A defective breaker is possible but rare. Unless the breaker is more than 25 years old or has visible signs of wear or damage, it’s probably fine.
And, it’s where many homeowners get the wrong idea.
A breaker that keeps tripping isn’t broken. It’s doing its job by interrupting a dangerously strong electrical current.
However, there could be corroded wires, loose connections, or other issues in the panel or behind your walls. That’s why you need a professional electrician to troubleshoot this problem.
When Should I Call An Electrician?
Call an electrician if the same breaker repeatedly trips even after you’ve unplugged devices in the affected room. Shut off your power and call an emergency electrician if you notice a burning smell or see scorch marks on outlets or switches.
It’s also an emergency if your electronics become hot to the touch — they’re drawing too much power. Or if you get a tingle or light electric shock from touching plumbing fixtures.
That means your wiring is damaged, and electricity is now flowing through your pipes.
Electrician In Willow Grove, PA And Surrounding Areas
Call Your Home Solutions at (215) 768-8102 when you need an electrician in Willow Grove, PA or any nearby neighborhood in MontCo or Northwest Philadelphia. We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We’ve helped protect people’s lives and property with the safe use of electricity since 2008.