Circuit Breakers

circuit breakers

 

Located inside your home is a circuit breaker electrical panel that contains circuit breakers for each of the many circuits in your home. Some homes will have more than one circuit breaker panel which is referred to as a sub-panel. There may be a main electrical panel plus one or more sub panels in other locations of your property.

A circuit breaker provides protection for each of your electrical circuits by stopping the flow of live current if an overload or fault occurs. When an electrical fault occurs or the load on your circuit breaker becomes too great, the breaker on that circuit trips (shuts-off) and ceases the flow of current to that particular circuit. A tripped circuit breaker is still sometimes referred to as a "blown fuse" in reference to the older technology that circuit breakers replaced.

 

How to Reset a Circuit Breaker?

Before any electricity can be restored, the circuit breaker must be reset. However, even before you do that, you must take steps to ensure that it is safe to do so. Turn off or unplug all of the devices that are plugged into the tripped circuit. Make certain no dangerous condition exists before restoring any power.

A circuit breaker which has been tripped will have the control toggle either be in the middle or in the "OFF" position. Locate the tripped circuit breaker and reset it by pushing it all the way to the "OFF" position first and then back to the "ON" position. Electricity should now be restored to that circuit. If the circuit breaker trips again before you have turned anything on or plugged anything in, the breaker itself may need to be replaced or a serious wiring fault may exist on that circuit. Do not attempt to re-set this breaker again. Immediately consult a qualified licensed electrician.

When the power to a circuit does get restored, if the circuit breaker trips again after plugging in or turning on a device, that particular device may have a short or may be placing too much of an electrical load on the circuit. If no circuit breakers were tripped and you still do not have power at an outlet, there may be a wiring fault, the outlet may be defective or it may be on a GFCI controlled branch circuit. Refer to my GFCI web page for checking a GFCI outlet.

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Last updated on  Feb 27, 2013