Friday, August 17, 2012

3 Reasons Your Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

My first microwave was some contraption from the 50s left over by my grandparents when they moved.  It weighed what seemed like 100 pounds and made noises you don’t expect to hear when your food is cooking.  Worst of all, if you turned it on while the deck light and the basement lights were on, the cooking lasted 30 seconds until the entire house went dark.  

Sound familiar?  Circuit breaker problems can be quite the hassle.  Fixing the problem can be simple, but will often require a professionally trained electrician.  Before we can find the solution however, we have to find out why your circuit breaker keeps tripping.

1. Faulty Wiring
If you recently moved into a newly built home or just had your home rewired and are having circuit breaker problem, this might be caused by a wiring problem.  Nobody is perfect.  A mistake in wiring is not uncommon.  You may first notice this problem in electric switch malfunction.  Unfortunately, a problem such as this may require a lot of work, since the entire wiring system will have to be looked at by an electrician.

Residents of an older home in which the circuit breaker keeps tripping could be experiencing a blessing in disguise when it comes to faulty wiring.  A badly wired electrical system, especially one that combines older and newer electrical systems, can lead to severe problems and even fire.

2. Short Circuit
Speaking of severe, here’s another common reason that could explain why your circuit breaker keeps tripping.  A short circuit occurs when a “hot” wire comes into contact with another wire.  You may notice because of electrical equipment malfunction, a burning smell, or melted wiring.

Short circuits are dangerous because they have the potential to start fires.  What complicates matters is that short circuits can occur at any point in your electrical system, so finding this alarming problem can be difficult.  If you suspect a short circuit, you need to get a professional electrician on the case.

3. Overload
Remember that microwave problem I mentioned?  It turns out ancient appliances draw a lot of power.  If your circuit breaker keeps tripping you may be having the same problem we had—electrical overload.  Your circuit breaker is designed to take on a specific electrical load.  Anything higher than that defined load will cause the circuit breaker to shut off.

Each electrical item on a circuit adds a certain load to the system.  If you have a microwave, TV, computers and a hair dryer all running on a circuit breaker not intended to take that much of a load—
lights out.  This problem can have a simple fix.  Don’t run all of these items at the same time.  Otherwise the circuit breaker keeps tripping.

Whenever you’re circuit breaker keeps tripping, keep your safety in mind.  Any victim of electric shock can tell you that wires are not something to play around with if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Likewise, if you’re going to get help, make sure it’s from a certified electrician.  Your buddy Joe may say he’s seen every kind of electrical system known to man, but are you willing to bet your home on it?

If you are in the Oklahoma City or Tulsa area, I would recommend visiting a professional electrical maintenance company.


  1. Thanks for the information, Ray! Dealing with faulty wiring can be frustrating and dangerous. It can cause a fire if undetected stat! Anyway, the best thing to do is to make a regular maintenance on your wiring and proper consumption of electricity to prevent chaos in the future.

    Helene Raymond

  2. My husband is very stingy when it comes to appliances and electronics inside our home, so he routinely checks our house for faulty wirings and problems with appliances. He does a great job of fixing the connections or replacing old wires in our home. This benefits us because we never experienced any dilemma with our wirings. Still, I believe that you should never disregard professionals especially when you encounter complicated electrical problems.

    Margert Woodcock