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How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker

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How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker

If your appliances suddenly stop working, or you find yourself in the dark unexpectedly, you may have a tripped circuit breaker. This issue can be easily resolved by a homeowner in a couple of steps. To help you restore power to your appliances and electronics, we have created an outline of the process to follow to reset your circuit breaker.

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How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?

Circuit breakers are located within the electrical panel in your home. Electrical panels are usually installed in utility rooms, garages, or basements. Circuit breakers help to prevent electrical overload and short circuits. This helps to prevent electrical fires and damage to appliances by disconnecting the circuits when the breaker detects a surge. By breaking the connection, the power stops running to the affected wires.

Resetting a Tripped Circuit Breaker

Resetting a tripped circuit breaker is incredibly simple, even more so than replacing a fuse.

  1. Head to your electrical panel and open the box. The breaker handle will likely be in a position somewhere between the “on” and “off” positions. It may also have an orange or red color to indicate that it has tripped, or it may be completely in the “off” position.
  2. Once you have identified the tripped breaker, the next step to resetting the circuit breaker includes flipping the switch all the way to the “off” position before flipping it back to the “on” position. You should hear an audible click when you do this. This should reconnect the circuit, restoring power to that line.

If you experience continuous tripped breakers, you should contact an electrician to help diagnose and fix the problem.

Why Do Circuit Breakers Trip?

Electrical panels, and the circuit breakers within them, provide protection to home occupants. Circuit breakers are designed to trip for one of two reasons:

Electrical Overload

Electrical overload occurs when too much power draws on a single circuit. This excess power overloads the circuit and causes the breaker to trip. This is why it is important for electrical contractors to properly plan out the wiring in your house.

For example, running the dryer and dishwasher at the same time on the same circuit could easily cause a circuit breaker to trip. The breaker trips when it detects too much power. Therefore, it trips, which stops the flow of electricity. A qualified electrician should be able to calculate and wire safe loads for your electrical panel.

Short Circuits

A short circuit happens when electrical components, such as wires, accidentally cross or touch. This can happen anywhere along the circuit, from the cord of a device to the wiring running through the home.

Isolate the circuit with the tripped breaker and trace the entire length of electrical wiring checking for any shorts. However, turn the power off before starting. A professional electrician can help you reset your tripped circuit breaker and fix a short circuit in your house.

How to Reset a Tripped Circuit Breaker

Avoiding Tripped Circuit Breakers

If you know what has caused your tripped circuit breaker — such as overloading a power bar — fix the issue before you reset the breaker. If you are ever unsure, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified electrical professional for assistance. Ensuring your appliances remain spaced out correctly provides homeowners with the best assurances to prevent a tripped circuit breaker.

Most major appliances will require their own dedicated circuit in order to prevent power overloads. Running two appliances at the same time on the same circuit is likely to result in recurrent power outages. You should also be mindful of how your outlets are used in order to prevent overloads. Running your television on the same circuit as the living room lights (which frequently remains on at the same time) possibly creates in a power overload and tripped circuit breaker.

What If Your Tripped Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset?

If your circuit breaker won’t reset, this is a sign of damage to your electrical system. Do you notice burn marks or scorching around a breaker or your electrical panel? Do not attempt to fix an electrical issue without a professional electrician. In this case, the circuit breaker needs replacement. The size of the breaker will determine its cost, plus the labor involved for a qualified professional to replace the breaker.

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Electrical Repair & Installation Services

If you’re uncertain about what is causing a tripped circuit breaker, it’s best to consult with a qualified electrical professional. Our team of emergency electricians offer reliable electrical services for homeowners in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Our technicians provide various types of electrical solutions such as electrical inspections, whole-house generator installation, and electrical panel replacement. Our staff will perform an inspection of your system to find damaged electrical wiring. Once we find the issue, we will upgrade your electrical system to keep your family safe. Give our team of electricians a call to receive assistance with a malfunctioning electrical system.

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