Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping – What Do You Do?

One of the most common frustrations homeowners face is when the circuit breaker keeps tripping. Sometimes it can be really tough to find the source of the problem.

If you are struggling with this dilemma, check out this guide to learn more about what causes a tripped breaker and how to remedy the situation.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

A circuit breaker is a critical safety feature in any home’s electrical system. The breaker controls and protects the electrical power system and the electrical equipment attached to it.

Whenever you draw more power than a circuit can safely handle it can cause an electrical circuit overload. If the breaker keeps tripping and is left unchecked, the overload could cause the circuits to overheat or damage your home’s electrical wiring.

When the excess current load exceeds the capacity of your circuit breaker, it trips. As a result, the circuit breaker will cut off the flow of electricity until you can resolve the problem. Without this safety feature, electronic devices would short-circuit quickly, and potentially cause a house fire.

Click here for more detailed information on how circuit breakers work.

Breakers that keep trippingWhy A Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Although a tripped circuit breaker is an important safety mechanism, it is an indication of a bigger problem, especially if your circuit breaker switch keeps tripping after you switch it back on. There are many things that can cause breakers to trip including a short circuit or a ground fault somewhere.

Depending on the circumstances, it may even be the circuit breaker itself that is faulty. Sometimes, it may be an incorrect breaker, one that may not be appropriately suited for the existing electrical system.

If you have an older home and your circuit breakers are dated or your electrical panel isn’t up to code, your circuit breakers will likely need to be serviced or the circuit panel itself may need to be replaced.

refrigerator keeps tripping breakerAppliances Can Cause a Tripped Circuit Breaker

Your appliances can often be the culprit as to why your circuit breaker keeps tripping. If you suspect your appliances, it is advisable to call in an electrician to inspect your electrical system.

Electricians can safely detect short circuits and ground faults. They are also skilled in servicing and replacing any broken, aging, or failing breakers on your electrical breaker panel.

It can be inconvenient when a circuit breaker keeps tripping. So, to help you spot the warning signs, here are the most common appliances that can cause a tripped circuit breaker.

Refrigerator Keeps Tripping Breaker

Out of all the appliances at home, the refrigerator is probably one of the biggest causes of a tripped circuit breaker. If you have experienced this repeatedly, you may be wondering why your fridge keeps tripping the circuit breaker. In truth, there are many possible answers to this problem.

It could be an issue with the circuitry within the fridge, or possibly also a short circuit. In some cases, it may also be poor wiring, a shattered internal mechanism in your refrigerator, or an outdated breaker. Get to know the specific issues below.

1.       Broken Thermostat

If your fridge thermostat has a high rating and is defective, the circuit may be overloaded. Conducting a temperature test within the device can help you identify whether the thermostat is the source of the problem.

2.       Defrost Heater Issues

Grounding is the most prevalent problem with defrosters as well. By disconnecting the defroster from the main electrical component of the fridge, you can check if the breaker will stop tripping.

3.       Compressor Issues

Your fridge can repeatedly trip the circuit breaker if there is an issue with the compressor. If this is the problem, you should ask your electrician to check the circuit wires since it would be too complex without adequate knowledge and skill.

Click here to learn more about why your refrigerator keeps tripping the breaker.

Ceiling Fan keeps tripping breakerFan Keeps Tripping Breaker

Fans are often the culprit when the circuit breaker keeps tripping. If your fan keeps tripping the breaker it may be due to a short circuit, circuit overload, or ground fault surges.

1.       Circuit Overload

While running a single fan from the same outlet or circuit is typical in many households, a breaker can trip if you overload it with many fans running simultaneously. Circuit overload is perhaps the most common cause of breakers tripping from ceiling fans.

In other cases, it is also possible for a single fan to trip when connected to other electrical equipment. As soon as the power flow becomes too high for the breaker to handle, it cuts off the flow of electricity to securely shut down the circuit.

2.       Short Circuit

If you observe a brown or black discoloration on the cable, fan, or near the circuit breaker, the problem may be a short circuit. Shorts usually leave a burning odour around the fan or the circuit breaker area, so it should be easier to detect. However, if you notice any sharp smell, call your electrician to check for bad wiring or loose connections.

3.       Ground Fault Surges

Shorts and ground faults are similar, though generally limited to a single outlet. They can occur when someone accidentally touches a hot wire, allowing the electricity to travel through their feet to the ground. When this happens, your circuit breaker will trip. We recommend having surge protectors to help protect your home’s computer systems.

A blown breaker can be quite frustrating and inconvenient. You can reset it, but if your breaker keeps tripping you may need help finding the cause and fixing the problem. You may even want to consider a circuit breaker upgrade or replacement.

Check out this article by Home Efficiency Guide about why fans keep tripping the breaker.

About Premium Electric

At Premium Electric, we consider your safety and the safety of your family and home to be paramount.  Stay safe and always hire a qualified electrician for any electrical work that needs to be done.

Our certified electricians service both commercial and residential clients throughout the Fraser Valley and the Vancouver Lower Mainland and all electrical work is guaranteed. Get in touch if you need an electrician in Chilliwack, Surrey, Abbotsford, Mission, or Langley.

If a circuit breaker keeps tripping or if you still have any questions about circuit breakers or an electrical panel upgrade please, contact us online or send an email.

We can also be reached by calling 604-308-6195.

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