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Understanding Your Circuit Breaker

Posted on: December 2, 2015

circuit breaker

You’ve probably had to reset a circuit breaker in your Chicagoland home before, but do you understand why it tripped in the first place? Your circuit breaker is an ingenious tool designed to interrupt electrical currents when conditions become dangerous, and when they trip too often it can indicate a larger problem.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

The circuit breaker is an electrical device designed to interrupt an electrical current if something malfunctions with the current. They can be small, like the individual circuit breakers found in power strips, and large, like circuit breakers that attach to parts of a giant power grid. The typical home has several, either attached to parts of the house or to individual rooms.

Circuit breakers work automatically. When certain conditions are met, they trip and the power dies. They can be reset by flipping the circuit off for 15 to 30 seconds, then turning it back on.

What Causes it to Trip?

The function of the circuit breaker is, of course, to trip. Ideally, however, they never would because nothing would go wrong with the current. Three main things cause the circuit to trip: an overloaded circuit, a short circuit, or a ground fault. Overloaded circuits are most common, which basically means you tried to run too much power through that particular circuit. Short circuits have to do with wires touching each other or breaking, and ground faults are when a wire touches the ground wire.

When you have circuits that trip a little too often, you should get them checked out by a professional to make sure nothing more serious than an overloaded circuit is happening. Short circuits and ground faults can be dangerous if left unfixed.

Do you keep tripping your circuit breaker? Are you worried you may have a short circuit or a ground fault? Have a professional assessment of the wiring in your home to discover the problem and provide a solution. Call Black Diamond today.

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