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Why do breakers commonly trip?

Why do breakers commonly trip? In your electrical panel you will find a main breaker that controls the power to the entire house. Underneath the main breaker, you will find multiple breakers, with one breaker for each circuit. Both the main breaker and the smaller breakers can trip, however, it is rare for the main breaker to trip. If the main breaker does trip, it is typically due to lightening strikes, a surge in the power grid, or your panel is over the capacity it can handle.

Why do breakers commonly trip?
Why do breakers commonly trip?

Overloaded Circuits

The most common cause of a circuit breaker tripping is from an overloaded circuit. Each circuit is intended to carry a maximum of 80% of the electrical load, and when it exceeds the load it can handle, then the breaker will trip. You never want to overload your circuit, as this can cause the wiring to heat up and potentially create a fire risk. It is actually this excessive heat running through the circuit that causes the breaker to trip.

Each circuit is designed to easily handle the electrical load whether it is for your lighting, outlets, or dedicated circuits for your appliances. If you have a toaster oven, blender, and a coffee maker plugged in to your regular outlets, this could potentially overload the circuit, as the circuit wasn't designed to be able to handle multiple small appliances. Additionally, if your microwave isn't on it's own circuit, it could draw too much power causing your breaker on that circuit to trip. Both microwaves and hair dryers both require relatively large amounts of power and can easily trip the circuit if that circuit is already near capacity. If this is happening in your home, call SHEWORKS Electrical at 602-425-9621 to have us add a dedicated circuit or an additional circuit.

Overloaded circuits are fairly common and easy to identify if that is the issue at hand. If your circuit is tripping as soon as you run your microwave or turn on your hair dryer, then your circuit is overloaded. If that happens, the best thing to do is to unplug some things that are on that circuit and turn the breaker back on, then book and appointment with SHEWORKS Electrical to resolve that issue for you.

Short Circuits

Short circuits are another common cause of tripped breakers. All the wiring in your home consists of three separate wires: a black or live wire, a white neutral wire, and a bare copper ground wire. Short circuiting happens when the hot wire comes in contact with the neutral wire, the ground wire, or even a metal box. When this happens too much current will flow through the circuit, overloading it.

A short circuit can occur for many reasons such as a damaged wire, loose connections, or the screw terminal touching the metal box. The can also happen with damaged power cords if the wires are out of the insulation and touching each other.

Short circuits are potentially a bigger hazard then overloading the circuit, as they could cause an electrical fire or you can get electrocuted. In the case of short circuits, it is best to contact a licensed electrician to handle this type of issue. Book Today

Old of Faulty Circuit Breakers

In some cases, your circuit breakers might be tripping because the breaker is at the end of its life. This problem is actually quite rare to have, as circuit breakers last a long time. However, if you had a circuit that was being overloaded and tripping frequently before it was repaired, the circuit breaker should always be replaced in this case. If not, the circuit breaker might continue to trip even though the circuit is not overloading.


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