Circuit breakers are indispensable components of your electrical system. The device will shut off when it detects a short circuit, an overload, or a power surge. It is common for the breaker to trip once in a while, but if it keeps tripping, it could be due to one of the the following issues.
1. Your Electrical System Has a Short Circuit
One common reason your circuit breaker keeps tripping is a short circuit. The simplest definition of a short circuit is contact between the neutral and the live wires. When the wires touch, it can cause your circuit breaker to trip immediately after turning it on.
Contact between the live and neutral wires will cause a sudden flow in current. The wires can overheat and may start a fire. A discolored receptacle or a burning smell are symptoms of a fault in the circuit.
The short circuit could also be in the appliance rather than the electrical system. You can identify the source of the problem by turning off all the electronics on the circuit. Switch them on one at a time until you find the appliance tripping the breaker.
It is advisable to remove the appliance or have an electrician troubleshoot the circuit. You could cause further damage to your equipment or risk electrocution. Consider consulting our electricians at Huft Home Services in Sacramento for prompt electrical service.
2. The Circuit Is Overloaded
Circuit overloading occurs when an electrical load exceeds the rating of your electrical system. The breaker will trip when it detects a current greater than the circuit’s rated value. Without the breaker, the wires will overheat and start a fire.
Burning smells, warm receptacles, or discoloration on switches could be signs of a circuit overload. You may notice lights dimming when you turn on an appliance. It means the circuit has insufficient amperage to power your equipment.
For example, if the lights flicker when you turn on the microwave, the circuit will need an upgrade. Also, connecting multiple devices could exceed the amperage of the electrical system. You could move some of the devices to another outlet.
You can also reduce the circuit’s load by using LED bulbs rather than incandescent ones. Avoid using extension cords excessively. A better long-term solution is to upgrade the electrical system to suit your lifestyle and energy needs.
You may need a 20-amp circuit in your workshop for your power tools. An aging vacuum cleaner or oven may draw more power from your electrical system as it becomes inefficient. If you are unsure of the cause of the problem, reach out to our electrical team.
3. Power Surges and Arc Faults
A power surge is a sudden spike in voltage. The voltage can vary from a minor increase to a considerable voltage spike that can damage appliances and valuable equipment. Even small increases can cause your electronics to fail gradually over time.
Sometimes lightning may cause a surge in your electrical system. A direct strike on the power line will trigger a voltage spike.
A power surge can also occur after an outage. When the electricity is restored, there is a jolt in the voltage. You can unplug all devices during severe storms to eliminate the risk of equipment failure.
The best way to protect your electronics is to use a surge protector. Many point-of-use surge protectors resemble extension cords, but it is worth noting not all extension cords are surge protectors.
A point-of-use surge protector is affordable and suited for powering one or two appliances. However, you could opt for a whole-house surge protector. A whole-house surge protector will keep your electrical system safe regardless of the source of the voltage spike.
4. Ground Faults and Electrocution Hazards
A ground fault is when the current takes an unintended path to the ground. It occurs when the live wire touches the appliance’s outer casing or ground wire. Electricians consider ground faults to be another type of short circuit since there is a bypass across the wiring.
As with short circuits, ground faults will reduce the resistance in the conductor. A lower resistance can allow the uncontrolled flow of current. Your circuit breaker will repeatedly trip if there is a ground fault in your electrical system.
The principal risk of a ground fault is an electrocution hazard. Touching an exposed wire can create a path of least resistance to the ground. Damp conditions can increase the risk of a ground fault and electrocution.
The NEC (National Electrical Code) requires GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlets in the kitchen, bathroom, or outdoors. A GFCI outlet constantly monitors the voltage in the hot and neutral wires. When there is contact between the hot and ground wire, the device stops the current.
A ground fault could also occur due to wiring faults during installation. Reversing the polarity of the live and neutral wire in an outlet can cause a shock or short circuit. Reverse polarity allows electricity to continue flowing into the appliance even when off.
A GFCI circuit can detect changes in power faster than a regular circuit breaker. Its primary role is to protect you and your family from electrocution. You can count on Huft Home Services for electrical solutions to keep your Sacramento home safe.
5. Breaker Trips Due to Outdated Wiring
Outdated wiring in your home could be another reason the circuit breaker keeps tripping. Older homes have electrical systems that cannot handle the electrical demands of a modern household. You can overload the circuit or trigger a fire by using the latest energy-demanding appliances.
One of the issues with outdated circuits is the absence of grounding connections. If you have two-pronged receptacles in your home, you may want to upgrade to a three-pronged outlet. The lack of a grounding slot can increase the risk of appliance damage or electrocution.
Aluminum wires in outdated electrical systems can melt due to circuit overloading. The plastic casing also increases the risk of a fire when it burns.
Additionally, deteriorating insulation on the conductor can trigger a ground fault. According to statistics, 90% of ground faults are caused by deteriorating insulation on wires and appliance cables.
6. Outdated or Worn Circuit Breaker
A circuit breaker can trip due to a loss of efficiency or a manufacturer’s defect. In such instances, the breaker may shut off the power even without the occurrence of a short circuit or overloading.
If your circuit breaker keeps tripping, schedule an electrical inspection. It is advisable to avoid tinkering with the breaker panel on your own. Consider consulting a certified electrician to prevent electrocution, fires, or appliance damage.
Certified electricians can pinpoint the problem in the shortest time possible. Professionals have the requisite training to handle complex and risky electrical projects. You can work with our team to plan an electrical system that suits your needs.
Whether you require a generator, a surge protector, or an EV installation in Sacramento or somewhere in the surrounding area, don’t hesitate to rely on Huft Home Services. Our mission is to guide our clients in choosing the best options, and our team can install additional outlets, rewire your home, or install a generator. We’ll ensure the installation complies with the National Electrical Code requirements and the highest standards in the industry. You can also trust our award-winning crew for HVAC repairs, maintenance, and installation as well as insulation and a full range of plumbing solutions. We perform emergency repairs 24/7. Call us at Huft Home Services today.