It was two o’clock in the morning when one circuit breaker asked the other, “Is it just me, or are you trippin’?” Anyone who has had a circuit breaker trip in the middle of the night and had to get out of bed to reset it,we know how you feel about those pesky circuit breakers.
But let’s look at the bright side; circuit breakers are designed to keep our properties safe. They are essential devices that can prevent circuits from overloading and overheating. But what is it that causes these circuit breakers to trip?
Circuit breakers are switches that can be operated manually or automatically to control the amount of power flowing through an electrical system. Every breaker has a rated amperage. If, for any reason, the current exceeds the marked amperes, the breaker will trip and stop the current from flowing in the circuit. This prevents the circuit from overheating, thus preventing electrical fires.
What Can Cause a Circuit Breaker to Trip?
We now know that high amounts of current trips a circuit breaker. Here are some factors that can lead to unwanted amounts of current in the circuit.
A short circuit occurs when two wires, not meant for each other, try to get in an awkwardly close relationship. They are the hot wire and the neutral wire. If these two wires touch each other, a largeamount of current flows through the circuit, and if not corrected in a few seconds, they can cause the wiring to melt and even catch fire.
Short circuits cause can occur due to faulty wiring, loose connections, or bad appliances. If the breaker trips every time you plug something in or flick a switch, there is some shorting in the circuit. To check shorted appliances, try plugging them into a different area of the house and see if the breaker for that area trips. If the appliance trips breakers in other areas of the house, chances are it is shorted.
If you suspect any shorting in the circuit, refrain from using that outlet, switch, or appliance and have it inspected by a licensed electrician.
You have just decided to pick a new baking hobby, and you have got yourself a shiny new oven. You cannot wait to put it to use. As soon as it is installed, you get your batter ready and prepare the oven. But as soon as the oven kicks in, “trip” goes the breaker. What happened?
An overload occurs when the electrical appliances in the system draw more power than the circuit is designed for. In the case above, the new oven was drawing more power than the circuit was designed for.
The next time your breaker trips, turn off all switches in the area for which the breaker has tripped. Reset the breaker, and then turn on the switches one by one. Wait for a few seconds to see if the system trips again. Every light, device, or appliance you turn on will cause more current to run in the circuit, and if the load exceeds the circuit’s capacity, the breaker will trip to prevent any serious consequences.
Benjamin Franklin was flying a kite with a metal wire in a lightning storm and got electrocuted and fell unconscious for a few days. He learnedit the hard way that electricity will find the shortest path to the ground.
If, at any time, electricity decides to take an alternate path to the ground instead of the regular circuit, it is called a ground fault. Ground faults can occur if water from a leaking pipe or dripping window finds its way into an electrical outlet. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, and it can damage wires and connectors. The electricity will then follow the water trail to find the shortest way to the ground, resulting in a current surge in the circuit.
But the most significant threat occurs when, like Benjamin, a human becomes the shortest path for electricity, which can cause electrocution.
Another reason that a grounding fault can occur is when a live wire touches the grounding wire in the circuit. It usually happens in the electrical outlet. This will cause high amounts of current to flow through the circuit and trip the circuit breaker.
Last Few Words
Electricity is not meant to be experimented with or played around with. If your breakers are tripping, and you cannot identify the reason, please get immediate assistance from a licensed electrician. The professional will be able to identify the reason for your tripping breakers and will also be able to rectify the fault for you.
Our team at Golden Electrical Service comprises certified, qualified, and experienced electricians who will provide you with the best solutions for all your electrical concerns. We have years of valuable experience working with circuit breakers and other electricals. We provide the best solutions for residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.