why do circuit breakers trip


A switching device that can either be operated automatically or manually, circuit breakers are used for both controlling and protecting the electrical power system and the connected devices. The circuit breaker trips when it cannot handle the existing load or if excess electricity passes through it. The flow of electricity is cut off immediately to prevent the circuits from overheating, which can result in further damage.

Without the installation of circuit breakers, house fires would be a lot more common than they are. Once the circuit breaker trips, you would either have to go outside, the basement or area where the circuit breaker’s located and reset it. While designing the circuit breaker, special attention is crucial for safe interruption of the arc during the operation of the circuit breaker.

Although the tripping of circuit breakers guarantees safety, it isn’t very pleasant to experience this frequently and reset it to restore power again. Also, regular tripping of circuit breakers isn’t a good sign and indicates a problem that needs fixing. If you take a look at why circuit breakers trip, you can take certain steps to prevent it from happening. Here are the three main reasons why circuit breakers trip:

1. Short Circuits

Short circuits are one of the most common things that cause the tripping of circuit breakers. This is way more dangerous than an overload. The primary reason for this is when a “hot” wire makes contact with a “neutral wire” in your electrical outlet. When this occurs, a considerable amount of current passes through the circuit.

This increased amount of heat is a bit too much for the circuit to handle. The breaker trips as soon as this happens, effectively shutting off the circuit to prevent fires. Several reasons like faulty wiring or a loose connection can result in short circuits. You can quickly identify it by the burning smell surrounding the breaker. Besides, there’s always brown or black discolouration around it as well.

2. Circuit Overloads

One of the main reasons that cause circuit breakers to trip is circuit overloads. Circuits have a fixed capacity, and overloads typically occur when we want a specific section to provide more electricity than its capacity. The overheating poses a severe risk to all the electrical devices connected to it. For instance, a T.V that’s connected to a circuit that requires only 15 amps but is using 20 amps, will burn out and damage your TV’s internal circuitry.

However, when the circuit breaker trips immediately, it helps prevent this damage. You can resolve this issue by redistributing your electrical appliances, and keep them off the same circuits. To reduce the electrical load on your circuit breaker, you can also consider switching off some of these devices.

3. Ground Fault Surges

Fairly similar to short circuits, ground fault surges typically occur when a hot wire comes in contact with a ground wire that’s made of copper or the outlet box connected to the ground wire. This causes an increase in the electrical flow, beyond the capacity of the circuit. The breaker trips as soon as this occurs, protecting that section and electrical appliances in it, from overheating and fires.

There is generally discolouration around the outlet when a ground fault surge occurs. If you overlook issues like these, you are putting the safety of your house and your family at risk. Consider calling in professionals to take a look at the issue if your circuit breakers are frequently tripping. Avoid tackling such issues by yourself.

The electrical system of a house is relatively complex, and proper maintenance is crucial to ensure smooth functioning. Postposing electrical repairs can pose a serious risk to your property. You must hire a licensed and skilled electrician to prevent complications of the electrical fault. Also, you should keep the contact information of an electrician handy in cases of emergencies.

For any more information, feel free to contact AllRound Electrical at 1300 169 263 or write to us at this email address and we will call back shortly. Our experts will discuss your requirements in detail and will make sure they provide solutions that work perfectly for you and fit right into your budget.

Thanks for reading,
Allround Electrical
1300 169 263