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Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping

image representing Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping

Whether you’re a homeowner or a property manager you have to deal with property maintenance issues. Being able to efficiently deal with problems is good—but preventing them from occurring in the first place is even better. If you have renters they will appreciate rapid responses to maintenance problems, but if issues keeps happening, it will wear on their nerves.

One common issue is with a property’s circuit breaker. When these devices trip, they shut down power to certain parts of the structure to prevent electronics from overloading. While this helps prevent damage, if the main circuit breaker keeps tripping, it will be inconvenient for renters (especially in multifamily properties where the circuit breaker is inaccessible to residents).

If a property has chronic circuit breaker issues, it’s natural to ask: “Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?” To help you with this electrical repair issue, here is a short list of some common reasons why a circuit breaker might trip:

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Reason #1: Too Many Active Appliances

One of the most common reasons why a circuit breaker keeps tripping in one room is that the circuit is overloaded. When there are too many appliances on one circuit, they may end up drawing more power than the circuit can handle safely. The sensor system of the circuit breaker may detect this as the circuits heat up to unsafe levels, causing the breaker to trip.

If a circuit breaker keeps tripping in one room repeatedly, it may be a sign that there are too many active appliances in that room. Renters may notice this immediately. However, as a property manager, this may be harder to spot (especially if the renter doesn’t notify you right away).

So, if you receive frequent complaints about a circuit breaker tripping, it may help to note which circuit is being tripped, and to investigate the room (or rooms) that circuit serves.

How to Fix My Circuit Breaker?

There are a few ways to fix this particular circuit breaker issue. The first is to notify the renter that they are overloading the circuit, and ask them to redistribute appliances to other circuits or outlets. This is the least expensive fix, but also one that relies almost entirely on the renter following your advice or directions.

Another solution might be to upgrade the electrical systems for the property to handle a heavier load. While much more expensive, this can be a more viable long-term solution, and it adds value to the property by allowing more energy-intensive appliances to be used.

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Reason #2: Faulty Wiring

Another reason why a circuit breaker might trip is that there is faulty wiring in either the structure or in an appliance connected to an outlet. For example, if a “hot” wire and a “neutral” wire connect, it can cause an instantaneous flow of unimpeded electricity—causing a “hard short.” This instantly overloads the circuit, causing the breaker to trip.

If the origin of the hard short isn’t rectified, renters or electrical repair personnel might notice that the main breaker keeps tripping each time they try to reset it. Hard shorts from faulty wiring are a more severe issue than simple appliance overloads because they are more likely to cause electrical fires if left unfixed.

How to Fix My Circuit Breaker?

Here, a call to an experienced electrical repair expert is a must. An electrician can help identify the faulty wiring and repair it to prevent future hard shorts that cause circuit breaker issues.

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Reason #3: Ground Faults

This particular circuit breaker issue is closely related to faulty wiring. However, instead of a connection between a hot wire and a neutral wire, the hot wire may be connecting to the ground circuit or other materials, such as wood, metal, or water. This also causes a short in the electrical system that trips the circuit breaker or, if installed, the local ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).

GFCI circuits are kind of like localized circuit breakers that are specific to a particular outlet. Depending on the building codes for the area, GFCI may be required in areas where moisture contact with the circuit is considered a major risk—such as in bathrooms, kitchens, or outdoor electrical sockets.

How to Fix My Circuit Breaker?

Once again, calling an experienced electrical repair expert may be the best solution to this problem—both to positively identify the issue and to make the actual repairs. If the source of the problem is moisture intrusion in the structure, more extensive property maintenance may be needed to eliminate the source of the excess moisture and prevent future ground faults.

Why Does My Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping? Reason #4: Power Surges

Mother nature can be another reason why a circuit breaker keeps tripping—especially during storm season. If the property is located in an area that is experiencing major lightning storms, power outages and power surges are all too common. When a lightning strike hits a building, transformer, power line, substation, etc., it can cause a massive overload that makes the circuit breaker trip. If the overload is severe enough, and the circuit breaker doesn’t trip soon enough, damage may be done to any appliances that are plugged in.

How to Fix My Circuit Breaker?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done to stop a circuit breaker from tripping as a result of a storm—in fact, that’s a desirable outcome since it protects the electronics in the building. If a region is particularly prone to lightning storms (such as the state of Florida), lightning rods are often used to redirect strikes to the ground instead of electrical systems. However, these lightning rods are usually mandatory in states with frequent electrical storms.

Following a major storm, portions of a building’s electrical system may be damaged (including the circuit breaker itself). Here, hiring an electrical repair specialist is a must to assess the damage and make repairs.

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