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Electrical Question about a Tripping Circuit Breaker

Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping? The Most Common Causes of a Tripped Circuit Breaker.

Guide to Diagnose the Cause of a Tripped Circuit Breaker
Electrical Question: Why does my circuit breaker keep tripping?

Received from a Handyman in Lawrence, New York.

Dave’s Reply:

How to Fix a Tripping Circuit Breaker Problem

home circuit breaker danger

Application: Troubleshooting a Tripping Circuit Breaker.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best repaired by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester and Amperage Meter or Current Recorder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with hand tools and electrical troubleshooting skills and access to the circuit components and equipment.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and then Tag it with a Note before performing any wiring or inspections.
Note: Electrical troubleshooting is best performed by a qualified electrical contractor or equipment service technician.

The Most Common Causes of a Tripping Circuit Breaker

More about Circuit Breakers and Electrical Wiring

For more information about Circuit Breaker
Circuit Breaker

Repair Electrical Wiring

Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring

Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
Handyman, Handywomen, and Electricians
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
....and much more.

Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tip

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

4 Responses to “Electrical Question about a Tripping Circuit Breaker”
  1. Robert Stovall says:

    On a 2 pole quad breaker, why are the two outside poles tied together and the two inside poles tied together, and not the two right poles and the two left poles?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Robert – Great Question!
      A tie bar is installed on circuit breakers that are used for multi-wire circuits or 240 volt circuits so that when the circuit breaker is turned ON or OFF both circuits or poles are toggled together. Because quad circuit breakers have two sets of breakers that share the same power buss the circuit conductors must staggered in order to obtain the proper configuration to provide 240 volts when tie bars are installed. As you may know, the power buss of most all panels is staggered where they alternate the power sources so they may provide 240 volt power as required, and it helps to balance the load of the main service conductors. Quad circuit breakers are available with or without tie bars depending on the application.

  2. gail gelep says:

    My dryer plug came into contact with a loose face plate and sparked and there was some black on the plug (and face plate). So I replaced the plug, dryer still didn’t work so I replaced the outlet, still doesn’t work. I tried to reset the circuit breaker but didn’t hear a “click”, is that why they dryer won’t work or could it be that the dryer was damaged?

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Hi Gail,
      When something like this happens it will trip the circuit breaker, which will need to be turned all the way into the OFF position and then turned back ON. Typically this should not damaged the dryer unless it is new and the controls are electronic. If the dryer was damaged then you may want to consult your homeowners insurance company and see if this is covered.
      Enjoy your warm dry clothes!


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