A circuit breaker that’s frequently tripping is often a sign of electrical malfunctions. To prevent hazards, you’ll need to identify and address the fault as soon as possible. Here is an outline of the potential defects in your electrical system.
What Happens When the Circuit Breaker Trips?
A circuit breaker is a safety device that interrupts the flow of current when there’s an overcurrent or short circuit. The breaker contains multiple switches that control different circuits.
When the device detects a fault, the switch will automatically turn to the off position. But you’ll have to turn it back on manually to restore electrical power to the circuit.
If the breaker keeps tripping, there could be a critical flaw in your electrical system. The fault could trigger an electrical fire in your home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution and lighting malfunctions account for half of all residential fires.
So, if the circuit breaker keeps tripping, it’s advisable to schedule a professional inspection. A certified electrical team from Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric in Sutton will troubleshoot the system for arc-faults and short circuits.
Short Circuit Faults in Your Electrical System
One reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping is a short circuit within the electrical system. A short circuit occurs when there’s contact between two electrical conductors. When wires touch, your breaker will trip due to the sudden rise of the electrical current.
Several factors may trigger a short circuit in your electrical system. Rodents can damage the wiring, increasing the risk of a short. A short could also be from defects in your electronic appliances, or an outlet or lighting fixture may have a loose connection.
If you suspect that an outlet is causing the breaker to trip, use another piece of electrical equipment on the same outlet and check if it will work. You can perform a similar test to determine if the issue is the appliance. Try testing it on a different receptacle.
Once you identify the source of the short circuit, avoid using the outlet or appliance. Besides increasing the risk of fires, faulty outlets and appliances can cause an electrical shock. Wait for an inspection to protect your home from hazards.
An Overloaded Electrical Circuit
Your electrical system operates within specific parameters of voltage and current. The purpose of the circuit breaker is to disrupt current flow when the power exceeds the rated level.
Therefore, a frequently tripping circuit breaker can be a sign of overloading. It indicates one of the circuits is overburdened by the electrical load. Several factors may trigger an issue with overloading.
Older homes tend to have outdated electrical systems with a shortage of outlets. In such situations, an extension cord can increase the risk of electrical fires. If you’re anywhere in the Sutton vicinity, you can trust Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric to upgrade your electrical system.
The issue could also be an appliance drawing more current than the circuit can allow. You can perform a test to determine the overloaded circuit.
Unplug all the appliances and turn off all the circuit breaker switches. Turn the switch back on and plug in the electrical appliances one at a time. Wait for a few minutes and repeat the process until you find the appliance overloading the circuit.
A temporary solution is to avoid using the appliance or outlet. If you choose to buy an extension cord, check the power ratings. Also, avoid using energy-demanding equipment like a washing machine or space heater on a suspect outlet.
However, an upgrade of the electrical circuit is the best approach for the long term. That way, you can use multiple appliances in your garage or kitchen without the breaker tripping. It’s a more convenient option that will keep your home safe from fire hazards.
A Faulty Circuit Breaker Device
Another reason the circuit breaker keeps tripping could be that the device itself is defective. A defective circuit breaker is a significant risk for your home. If it allows more current than the rated value for your system, it can melt the wires, causing electrical arcing.
According to independent tests, faults within a circuit breaker are quite rare among the top brands. You can expect the device to last between 10 and 15 years with less than a 1% failure rate.
Nevertheless, the device in your home can develop faults due to corrosion or manufacturer defects. Installation problems can also lead to overheating, which causes the panel to fail.
Some of the tell-tale signs of a defective circuit breaker include burning odors from the breaker panel. You may also spot signs of corrosion and discoloration. Schedule an inspection of your electrical system as soon as possible to avoid hazards.
Protecting Your Electrical System From Ground Faults
Your circuit breaker could also be tripping due to ground fault problems. A ground fault occurs when the current diverts from its intended path to the ground.
As with lightning, the electrical current tries to find the shortest path to the ground. If there’s water inside an outlet or wiring fixture, it can trigger a ground fault. The current in the circuit will surge, forcing the breaker to trip.
A ground fault can cause electrocution. When current deviates from the circuit, your body could complete the path to the ground. Ground faults are common in bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor outlets.
Building regulations require the installation of GFCI receptacles in places with a high risk of electrocution. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter disrupts the circuit when it detects a ground fault. It can respond to the surge in a fraction of a second.
Defective wiring could also be a factor that causes a ground fault. Moisture can create a path that diverts the current as well. At Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric, we recommend routine electrical maintenance to detect issues before they can endanger your home.
Why You Should Consult an Electrician
A tripped circuit breaker is a complicated issue that often requires the expertise of an electrician. If you notice that the breaker keeps tripping, switch off the system and consult a professional.
The circuit breaker is part of the distribution system. Therefore, it’s the first line of defense when an electrical malfunction triggers a surge in current. If you don’t have any experience troubleshooting electrical systems, you can cause fires or risk electrocution by tinkering with them.
An electrician has the experience to pinpoint the precise source of the fault. For example, circuit overloading can cause wires in the outlet to melt, but fixing the outlet is only a temporary solution. You may need to upgrade the electrical panel to address the problem conclusively.
Additionally, government agencies and local authorities are always updating the electrical code. A certified professional can install electrical panels and outlets that comply with regulations. Consulting a licensed electrician is a wise investment for your home’s safety.
Whether you need a generator, re-wiring, a panel upgrade or custom lighting services in Sutton, you can rely on Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric. We have a highly skilled team that can handle virtually any electrical project, big or small. We also provide air conditioning, furnace, boiler or ductless system HVAC installation, repair and maintenance solutions. You can talk to our experts for comprehensive plumbing services as well. Contact Landry Mechanical Inc Plumbing HVAC & Electric today for more details or to schedule an appointment.