You turn on the toaster and the lights in the kitchen go out. You’ve just finished showering, so you turn on the blowdryer to dry your hair and the lights in the bathroom go out. The lamp in the living room is on a timer, and whenever it turns on, the living room lights go out. You get the idea. So what’s going on?
If you find yourself constantly having to head to the circuit breaker and flip the switch to turn the electricity back on, it’s probably time to call in a residential electrician. That part is probably fairly apparent, but why is your circuit breaker tripping in the first place? That’s the question we’ll be answering in today’s post. Keep reading to learn more!
What Makes a Circuit Breaker Trip?
Although we wish we could definitively say that it’s just one thing, the truth is that there are a couple of reasons why a circuit breaker might be tripping regularly. Let’s take a look.
You Experienced a Ground Fault
If you have a newer home (or if you’ve had electrical work done in your home recently), you’ve probably heard of GFCI outlets. Ground fault circuit interrupters — also known as GFCIs — are designed to turn off electricity to an outlet or a series of outlets in the event that you experience a ground fault. But what is that? The folks at The Spruce sum it up quite nicely: “A ground fault occurs when the hot wire carrying a current comes into contact with a ground wire, with a grounded portion of a junction box, or with a grounded part of an appliance or device.”
This type of outlet is commonly seen in kitchens and bathrooms. In other words, they’re often installed in areas of the home that have a higher probability of coming into contact with water. The GFCI outlets kick in quickly when they need to, with the circuits shutting off within a fraction of a second. To identify a GFCI outlet, simply look for a receptacle that has a button on it. When it trips, it usually lights up red, notifying you that you need to reset it; to do so, simply push in the button.
You Experienced a Short Circuit
Let’s let the experts at the MIT School of Engineering explain a short circuit. “A short circuit is a connection between two parts of an electrical circuit that you don’t want to be there [and] in the case of a toaster, when you introduce a knife to the heating element, it provides the current with a short cut. This new path is easier than moving through the heating element, which has a lot of resistance to the flow.”
Needless to say, this causes quite the surge of electricity, and your circuit breaker isn’t equipped to handle all of it. The end result? Your circuit breaker will trip. In some instances, short circuits can even cause you to smell something burning, or discolor your outlets. Either way, it’s time to call an electrician.
You Are Overloading the Circuits
Without going into the science behind electricity, suffice it to say that modern circuit breakers are set up in such a way that they are able to handle a specific load of electricity. They are designed this way with safety in mind, and when a circuit breaker trips, it’s trying to tell you that it can’t handle the load you’re putting on it.
Many modern homes take this all into account when they’re being built, with the goal being to specifically help homeowners avoid the circuits being overloaded. It’s not unheard of for circuit breakers to trip regardless, however, and this is especially true if you’re doing something that would be considered “out of the ordinary.” For example, if you’re a woodworker, you might have a few lights plugged in while running your table saw and your dust collection unit. These all draw a fair amount of power, and if they’re going at the same time, it could trip the circuit.
Contact a Local Residential Electrician Today
So what’s the solution? It’s simple — call the team at Delta Electrical! Regardless of the issue you’re having with your circuit breaker, we can diagnose it and come up with a solution that works for you. We pride ourselves on offering our clients thorough service at fair prices. It’s as simple as that.
In this day and age, people tend to have unique electrical needs, and the good news is that regardless of what type of work you’d like to have done, we’ll make sure it gets completed correctly, ensuring that everything is safe. You deserve to have a home that is safe and functional, and at Delta Electrical, that’s exactly what we provide!
Contact us today, and rest assured that you’re in good hands.