You’re cooking dinner, washing laundry, and doing a terrific job of multitasking like Martha Stewart. Then it happens.
The power goes out, and all your momentum disappears with the pop of a switch.
What happened? Most likely, all the usage at once tripped your breaker. It’s an easy fix, but it can also be dangerous.
All About the Circuit Breaker
Your home is wired with a failsafe called a circuit breaker. It’s not intended to turn your power on or off. Rather, it’s a safety mechanism that kicks in when the electricity in your house is in danger of overheating.
Every time you plug something in, electricity flows to it and through it. As it flows, it generates heat, which can cause sparks and turn into house fires if something interrupts the flow.
Circuit breakers are the system that prevents this from happening. It may be irritating when it trips, and your power disappears, but it’s better than the alternative. Before an overload or circuit shorts, the breaker saves the day.
So what happens after the breaker trips? Most of the time, it’s an easy fix that can be taken care of within seconds with these five steps.
Fixing Your Circuit Breaker
Yes, you’re basically flipping a switch. It’s not rocket science, but it is electrical science. That means you need to be cautious because electricity in any form can be dangerous.
Follow these steps if your circuit breaker trips:
- Find the circuit breaker. If you’ve lived in your home for a while, this is an easy step. For new homeowners (or renters), chances are, you haven’t looked for the breaker yet. The location of a circuit breaker is different in every house. Look for yours in an out-of-the-way area, like the basement or garage. It could also be in the utility closet, hallway, or laundry room.
- Find the tripped lever. When you get close to your circuit breaker, you might hear a slight humming noise. This happens when the breaker is overloaded but hasn’t turned off yet. In the panel full of switches, most of them will be clearly in the “on” or “off” position. Look for the one that is sitting in between those two sides. That’s where the problem is.
- Test the switches. First, test the breaker’s lever to see if it’s loose. A faulty breaker that moves easily needs to be replaced quickly. Call your St Kilda electrician to take care of the problem before it causes more damage.
- Flip the appliances off. Any appliances connected to the circuit breaker must be turned off, then turned on again at the same time. Failure to do this will likely result in a surge of electricity heading to one appliance and “frying” it. This should fix the problem, but if the breaker keeps tripping, call a professional to find out what’s wrong.
- Have your wiring checked regularly. Even if your breaker hasn’t tripped yet, you’ll notice warning signs if you try to plug something in and get a little shock. Wires are hidden in our walls, so it’s easy to forget they’re there. However, if your wiring is old or faulty, an electrician knows how to test for issues before serious problems happen.
Electrical complications are one of the main causes of house fires. Don’t take chances that your tripped circuit breaker is no big deal. If it happens more than once, there’s something going on behind the scenes that needs to be fixed.