Electrical services in Scottsdale

How to Reset a Tripped Breaker

If the power goes out after plugging in a blow dryer, you might have tripped a breaker. Resetting a tripped circuit breaker is fairly simple and can be done in just a few minutes.

What is a Tripped Circuit Breaker?

A tripped circuit breaker means the home’s electrical safety system has properly responded to an electrical hazard. 

If an excessive amount of energy or heat flows through a circuit breaker, the electrical system forces it to automatically shut off and interrupt the flow of electricity. This helps prevent overheating devices with excessive power and protects the entire electrical system from damage.

What Causes Tripped Breakers?

Tripped breakers may be caused by overloaded circuits, short circuits, and ground faults.

Circuits become overloaded when too many devices are powered by the same circuit and attempting to draw a higher power load than can be safely carried by the circuit. High amp devices, like microwaves, dryers, wall heaters, and air conditioners, that are on for sustained periods of time can trip breakers. Devices that require short bursts of power, like blenders, coffee grinders, and hair dryers, can also trip breakers.

A short circuit occurs when a circuit is diverted from its intended pathway. This can happen if a powered wire makes contact with a neutral wire due to: cables pierced by nails or screws, deteriorating cable sheathing, loose wiring, or water in the electrical box.

In a ground fault, a hot wire comes into contact with anything that is grounded, such as an appliance, outlet, bare ground wire, or the side of a metal electrical box.

How to Reset a Tripped Breaker?

Begin by turning off all devices powered by the affected circuit. Next, find the electric service panel and locate the tripped breaker. The handle of a tripped breaker should be in the middle position. Turn off the circuit breaker, then turn it back on. Test the circuit by turning on a low-power device, such as a light fixture.

If circuit breakers are tripping frequently, then the electrical system may need professional service to identify the root cause. Call Tucker Hill for an inspection and repair.