Category Archives: Circuit Breakers

Why does my microwave keep tripping the breaker?

A microwave has become as essential in our kitchens as our stove top and oven. But because of its small convenient size, we often forget just how much power it takes to reheat those leftovers or cook those quick meals.

It’s because of this power that our microwave uses that it should be on its own dedicated circuit. This allows it to draw the essential energy it needs, without being hindered by other devices on the same circuit.

Microwave ovens have come a long way since 1970, and they now are available in all types of sizes and strengths. It is always a good idea to install a breaker that can handle a slightly higher amperage than your microwave lists it uses. Giving the appliance room for a bit of fluctuation is always a good idea for safety and future peace of mind, especially if your breakers are older.

Step One – Test Microwave
First, let’s be sure the microwave is functioning properly. Use the microwave in an area of the house that is guaranteed to not be on the same circuit, a garage or workshop perhaps. If it works then go on to step 2. If it does not, then the microwave is faulty.

Step Two – Check the Circuit
Locate your circuit breaker box and look to see if it is on its own dedicated circuit. Hopefully your box is sufficiently labeled to make this an easy chore. If the circuit is shared with other items, then a dedicated circuit for the microwave is what is needed. If it appears to already have its own dedicated circuit, then a higher amperage may be required. Douthit Electrical can examine the circuit and recommend a course of action with your family’s safety in mind.

Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!

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How to choose a location for circuit breaker panels

IA Circuit Breaker Panel is an important part of your home’s electrical system. It’s location should be chosen carefully and must always observe The National Electrical Codes (NEC) handed down by the National Fire Protection Association.

NEC Guidelines
In order the assure that the circuit breaker panel can always be accessed easily and safely, the NEC has designated a certain amount area to be left available at all times as a “working space”. This space around the breaker panel must be at least 6′ 6” high and 3 feet square away from the wall, with 30” width.

The center of the handle on the panel should not be more than 6′ 7” from the floor.

Resist the urge to hide your panel away in a closet or pantry. They should be installed in a larger exposed area such as a basement or garage. This should be a place that is out of the way and out of sight, but still convenient.

It should go without saying, that a light must be nearby to make sure your panel can be seen at all necessary times. Don’t store things near the panel that would limit easy access to it.

Are You Ready?
If you are considering taking on this project, consider visiting NEC (National Electrical code) at It’s important that before you start you are armed with all the necessary information so that you do not have to redo your work.

If you’ve chosen the location for your new circuit breaker panel and would like it installed by a professional electrician, Douthit Electrical can help! Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!

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Why does my breaker keep tripping?

Indoor Home Open Electrical Breaker PanelIf you continually need to go down to the basement or to the garage to your electrical panel box, your breaker is trying to tell you something.

The most common reason a breaker keeps tripping is because you are constantly overloading the same circuit. The breaker is trying to keep you and your family safe, by warning you the only way it can … by interrupting the power usage on a circuit that has reached its safe limit.

Before resetting the tripped circuit breaker, unplug the items that are on that circuit. Once you’ve reset the breaker, consider allocating the energy usage over different circuits. If that is not a practical solution, Douthit Electrical can help you decide if an upgrade is the next step.

If this is the first time you’ve been left in charge of resetting the breaker, here are a few helpful hints on how to reset a circuit breaker.

A short circuit or ground fault is another reason a breaker might be tripping. There is usually a physical sign when this happens. It could be as obvious as a blackened area around an outlet or even the smell of burnt wires.

Has a new appliance entered your home? Appliances come and go, but our electrical system tends to stay the same. New appliances can sometimes mean it is time to update the electrical system.

Now that summer is approaching, air conditioners can take a heavy strain on our electrical circuits. Make sure that your home can handle the extra power needed to keep your home cool.

Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need help with your electrical service or installation, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!

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Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

circuit breakerIt’s Murphy’s Law. On the worst day of the year or during the biggest storm (at night of course) your circuit breaker is going to trip and you are going to lose power. You hopefully know where the circuit breaker box is and you reset the breaker. Life is good again in Charlotte.

But what if it keeps happening? Electricity is nothing to fool around with. If your circuit breaker keeps tripping. it is doing its job and trying to tell you something. You should listen to it.

Overloading the Circuit

When too many devices are trying to pull its power from the same circuit, your circuit breaker will tell you “enough is enough” and trip. Use that opportunity to see what you are running on that circuit, and if heavy devices are draining too much power and should be moved to a different circuit.

A Short Circuit

Another possibility is a short circuit has happened somewhere along the line. When a black wire touches another hot wire or neutral wire it creates more heat than the circuit can handle. That causes the circuit breaker to trip.

Ground Fault

This is when a black wire touches the ground wire or the side of a metal outlex box, which is connected to the ground wire. The circuit breaker will trip from the excess current.


Pinpointing the cause of a circuit breaker can be overwhelming. Sometimes it can be obvious when you know you have tried to run too many heavy items on the same circuit. Other times it can be exasperating trying to figure out where the short circuit or ground fault has occurred.

All of this sound just a little bit confusing? That’s what we’re for! We’re trained to be able to pinpoint the problem and offer you solutions to keep your circuit breaker quiet and happy.

The safety of your family and home should never be taken lightly. Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need quality landscape lighting service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!

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Understanding Fuses and Circuit Breakers

Fuses and circuit breakers have the same job in our Charlotte homes. When too much power is going through a circuit, they both are able to stop the flow and hopefully, stop the damage that could be caused by too much electricity going through the circuit.

Both fuses and circuit breakers have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a few of the differences.


The most common type of fuses is made up of glass or ceramic with a metal casing. Inside the fuses is a filament or metal wire. When electricity is flowing normally, it safely passes through the filament and into our homes.

If a power surge occurs, the filment melts and stops the flow of electricity. Once that happens the fuse must be replaced in order for the circuit to be complete again.

Fuses react faster, but has to be replaced in order to restore power to the circuit.

Circuit Breakers

When turned on, the breaker allows power to pass across. If the current reaches an unsafe level, the switch is automatically turned off either by a magnet or a bi-metal strip, and the circuit is broken.

Circuit Breakers are much easier for the average homeowner to use. Once the problem has been found and corrected, restoring the circuit is easy as flipping the switch.

Douthit Electric has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need quality electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!

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How to Make Resetting Your Charlotte Circuit Breaker Easy, Safe, and Hassle Free

Electrical PanelCircuit 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

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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3 Common Electrical Problems That Our Charlotte Electricians Fix

Man Checking The Electrical Fuse BoxTripping Circuit Breakers – Many times circuit breakers are not prepared to handle the many electronics and appliances that we have in our lives today…microwaves, computers, coffee makers, televisions, toaster ovens, and so forth.  When you power multiple appliances at once, your circuit breaker may trip, and you lose power to those appliances.  This can be annoying, especially if it happens frequently, but it can also be dangerous because the circuits and wiring can overheat, potentially starting a fire.  Our electricians can upgrade your circuit breaker  so that it will operate safely while giving you the power you need to run your appliances.

Flickering Lights – Before you contact an electrician about a flickering light,  check to make sure that you have a bulb of the appropriate wattage in your light fixture and also make sure that it is connected properly.  Using a bulb that is not the correct wattage can lead to overheating and potentially a fire.  If you determine that your bulb is not the reason for the flickering, contact our electricians so that we can examine your system for faulty electrical wiring.

Non-Working Electrical Outlets – When an outlet doesn’t work, this can be a sign that the circuit breaker has tripped.  You can check your electrical panel to see if the breakers are in “on” position and switch them if needed.  If your outlet still doesn’t work with the breakers in the “on” position, it’s time to call your local electrician to investigate the issue.

At Douthit Electrical, we’re here to help you with these and any other electrical problems that you have in Charlotte and the surrounding areas.  Just give us a call!

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