Circuit breakers are an essential part of your home’s electrical system and can be found in millions of homes across the country. First created as an alternative to fuses during the 1920’s, circuit breakers are designed to “trip” or shut down when a fault is detected. This not only protects your appliances from a damaging surge of electricity but also safeguards your home against fire.
As necessary as this safety feature is, a tripped circuit breaker can also be an inconvenience. The holiday season is prime time for circuit breaker trips as a result of outdoor lighting displays and the increased use of household appliances. Hair dryers, irons, and toasters are common appliances that can trip a circuit breaker.
At Douthit Electrical, we understand that resetting a tripped circuit breaker can be intimidating. Luckily, there are several simple and easy ways that can make resetting your breaker quick, painless, and most important safe. Here’s how.
Locate your electrical panel
Electrical panel boxes, also known as electrical service boxes, are commonly found in basements and garages. Knowing exactly where yours is can help you save time in the event your circuit breaker trips. Keep the area around your circuit breaker free of clutter that may cause you to fall, such as boxes and wires. Also, be sure to keep flashlights handy and easily in reach. This saves you the trouble of trying to find one in the dark.
Identify the tripped breaker
Look for the breaker that has flipped all the way into the off position or one that is not fully in the on position. It’s common for a breaker to fall somewhere in between. Some breakers may even show a bit of color such as orange or red if they’re in any position but on.
Turn off appliances, electronics, and lights
Avoid a potentially dangerous power surge by turning off anything connected to the tripped breaker. This is where color coding or labeling your switches comes into play. Clearly labeling your breakers can take the guesswork out of trying to figure out which breaker is responsible for a particular appliance, area, or room. Consider color coding your circuit breaker by creating a key using construction paper, paint swatches, or a label maker.
Reset the tripped breaker
Ensure the tripped breaker is all the way in the off position before flipping it back into the on position. This includes breakers that are stuck somewhere between on and off. Flip the breaker back into the on position. Old and outdated electrical systems have a higher risk of malfunctioning. If this is the case, be sure to use only one hand when resetting the breaker to avoid electrocution!
Breaker re-trips occur when the circuit breaker has been reset but trips immediately afterwards. Common causes for this include a damaged cord or plug, or even faulty wiring. If your breaker continues to trip, call a professional right away. Working with electrical circuitry can be potentially dangerous and is best left to an experienced electrician.
With the holidays right around the corner, now is an especially important time to ensure your electrical panel is in good working order. At Douthit Electrical, our service technicians are happy to help you maintain your electrical panel with our circuit breaker maintenance service. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping everything — especially electricity — flowing smoothly. From routine maintenance, to Charlotte electrical emergencies, make it Douthit Electrical!
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