What Makes a Circuit Breaker Trip?

Posted in: Panel Upgrades

What Makes a Circuit Breaker Trip?When you have circuit breaker trip in your San Angelo home, you have to get the power back on by going outside, out to the garage, or down to your basement. And when this is a recurring problem, it doesn’t take long for it to get extremely frustrating.

So why is this happening? The professionals at Bryant Electric, Inc. have broken it down for you.

When a circuit breaker trips, it’s simply cutting off the flow of electricity, and circuit breakers do this to keep the circuits from overheating, which could cause a lot of damage. If circuit breakers didn’t trip, house fires would be a huge problem and much more common.

Before you go back out to hit the switch back on again, it’s important to consider why your breaker tripped in the first place. The three most common reasons a circuit breaker trips are:

  • Short Circuits
  • Overloaded Circuits
  • Ground Fault Surges

Here is a quick look at what those terms mean for you, what they mean to your San Angelo home, and what you can do to prevent further damage:

 

Circuit Overload

The number one of cause tripping circuit breakers is the circuits being overloaded. This simply means that you’re asking a particular circuit to provide more electricity to your home that is has the capacity for, which is in turn causing the circuit to overheat.

If you’re running a computer and a television through the same circuit, using 20 amps of electricity in a circuit that was meant to run 15 amps, the circuit breaker trips to prevent the circuit from possibly overheating and catching fire.

There are a couple of solutions to this problem. The first is to redistribute your devices and keep them off of the same circuits. You could also turn some of the devices off to reduce the electrical load.

 

Short Circuits

Another common cause of breakers tripping is a short circuit, which is much more dangerous ro your San Angelo home than an overloaded circuit.

A short circuit occurs when a “hot” wire comes into contact with a “neutral wire” in one of your outlets. When this happens, a large amount of the current flows, which creates more heat than the circuit can handle. Again, the circuit shuts off to prevent any dangerous outcomes.

You should be able to easily recognize whether a short circuit has occurred in your San Angelo home by the smell of burning that will be left around the breaker, and you may also notice a brown or black discoloration in the area. There are a number of reasons that these wires could be crossing, and it could just be loose connections or faulty wiring.

 

Ground Fault Surges

Short circuits and ground fault surges are actually very similar.

A ground fault happens when a hot wire touches a ground wire, or when the side of a metal outlet box is connected to the ground wire. Just like with a short circuit, you should be able to see a discoloration around your outlet if a ground fault surge has occurred.

Any of these problems have the potential to become very dangerous if they’re recurring, so if you’re breakers are tripping frequently, it’s worth calling a professional electrician for a safety inspection.

If you are looking for a Electrician Company in the San Angelo area, please call Bryant Electric at 325-658-8485 or click here to fill out our online request form

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