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Why Do Breakers Flip?

What should you do if a breaker is repeatedly tripping in your breaker box? Why would a breaker continue to flip, even after you remove all of the items drawing power on that breaker? There are many concerns to have as a homeowner, but lets make your breakers not one of them.

Breakers are the most vital part for safely distributing electricity into a home, which is why it's important to make sure they are in tip-top shape. Keeping up on your panel also decreases chances of electrical fires and injuries, but there is a chance of something happening if you only give your a panel a once-over. It's always a good idea to check all of your breakers or have a licensed electrician check them, whether it's precautionary measures or if a problem has already arisen. If a breaker keeps flipping and you're not sure what the cause is, maybe you can figure out with this list!

1. Overloading

This is the most common reason for breakers tripping, as it happens to be very easy to do. Overloading a breaker is when you have too much power being pulled from a single circuit, causing the breaker to try and draw a greater electrical load than it's intended to carry. When a circuit is trying to produce more electricity than it's intended to, it tends to get overheated, which triggers a spring mechanism within the breaker, and trips it. This is an easy fix if this does happen to you, as all you have to do it maybe unplug some appliances or turn off some lights to give the breaker a rest and acknowledge it's limits.

2. Short Circuit

Another reason a breaker can trip is from short circuits. When a short circuit occurs, this can be very dangerous compared to just overloading a breaker, making the risk of an electrical fire even higher. This happens when the hot wire makes contact with a neutral wire within an outlet, causing a huge surge in power. Just as on overload, this makes the breaker hotter than usual and forces it to trip. This usually occurs when there's a loose connection or faulty wiring within an outlet, and you could tell if one occurred if there's a burning smell coming from your breaker. If you noticed your breaker short circuited, please contact an electrician because it can be dangerous to try and change this breaker by yourself.

3. Ground Fault Surges

Similar to a short circuit happening, a ground fault surge happens when the hot wire makes contact with the ground wire or a metal box that touches a ground wire. This causes unnecessary electricity to flow throughout the circuit, and in turn, causes the breaker to overheat and trip. You can check if this happened because there will be a slight discoloration around the affected outlet(s), usually a brownish or blackish color. As before, it's safer to hire an electrician to change out the breaker and outlet.

4. Old Breaker

As with most appliances, the older they get, the more faulty they become. The same applies to breakers. As the breakers age, they can become overly sensitive to slight amperage changes or weather conditions. This is the perfect time to change the breaker out or get a panel rejuvenation (which is something that SHEWORKS offers!).

5. Weather

The weather is gnarly towards breakers and can be a pain if they keep tripping. The heat can can build up and cause the breaker to trip if there's a loose connection within the breaker. Not only can heat cause breakers to trip, but humidity is also known to trip breakers prematurely. It's important to make sure your breakers are up to date and don't have any loose connections to avoid the struggle of constantly checking your panel.

Hopefully with this list you can start to live stress free and not worry about your breakers on top of everything else! In the case of you needing some new breakers, the team at SHEWORKS would love to put you and your family to rest!

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