Your circuit breaker may have tripped and you didn’t even know because you don’t know what it means for a circuit breaker to trip. A circuit breaker simply keeps an eye on a circuit or a set of circuits in your home. The circuit breaker monitors the flow of current to the circuits and makes sure that everything is occurring safely.
A circuit breaker will trip when the current is greater than the capacity of the circuit, therefore overloading or short circuiting the circuit. The breaker will trip to stop this overloaded flow as a safety precaution and will usually turn off appliances plugged into the circuit or even power in a section of your home. By tripping, the circuit breaker is helping keep you and your family safe from electrical fires, electrical shock or electrocution from the overloaded circuit.
What exactly is causing your circuit breaker to trip? Here are some of the main reasons this occurs:
If the wiring in your home is old and outdated or was installed by someone other than a licensed electrician, it may not be very safe. Old wiring can wear down and become damaged over time which can cause short circuiting which will often trip your circuit breaker.
If your wiring was not installed by a licensed electrician, there is a possibility that is is not installed properly and not up to code. This can also put stress on your circuits and can cause an eventual trip of the circuit breaker. This is why electrical inspections are so important. If there is a problem with your wiring, it will be detected during an electrical inspection and can be repaired as soon as possible.
Some appliances consume a lot more power and electricity than others. Surprisingly vacuums and hair dryers are some of the most power consuming appliances found in our homes. If these appliances are plugged into any outlet connected to any circuit, they can cause too large of a flow of power through the circuit and the breaker can trip.
Appliances like these should have designated ‘high draw’ circuits so there is enough capacity for them to run properly and safely.
Breakers have the capacity for a very specific amount of electricity that is measured in amps. If the number of amps is surpassed, your breaker is sure to trip. This is important to know so that you don’t plug a new appliance into a breaker that is already close to its capacity.
During a storm, if lightning strikes your home it can trip your circuit breaker. This isn’t the most common but is definitely a possibility. Looking into whole home surge protection is important especially if you live in an area that is very prone to storms and lightning strikes. Whole home surge protection will not only protect your home but will also protect any appliances or electronics that are plugged in at the time.