What to do About a Tripping Circuit Breaker
How to Fix Tripping Circuit Breakers: Why Circuit Breakers Trip and What You Can Do When a Circuit Breaker Trips and the Electricity Is Off.
Why a Circuit Breaker Trips Off
Electrical Question: How do I fix a tripping circuit breaker?
- I purchased a new ceiling fan for my dining room. The existing electrical box has a white, blue and black wire.
- The fixture has a white, black, black/white and green wire.
- I attached the blue and black from the box to the black and black/white from the fixture (I also attached the white to white and green from the fixture to the green on the case).
- I checked it before I finished and it worked, so I finished the rest and turned the breaker back on.
- When I turned the light back on, it blew the breaker (a whole new problem for a non-handy person like me).
- I am now working on fixing the breaker, but I need to know how I am supposed to wire this so it doesn’t happen again.
- I have looked all over online and can’t quite find the wiring combination specific to me.
Can you please help me? Thanks, Nick
This home electrical troubleshooting question came from: Nick, a Homeowner from Valparaiso, Indiana.
Additional Comments: This is an awesome site. It is nice of you to help people like me who know nothing!
Dave’s Reply: Thanks for your home electrical question Nick
Why a Electrical Circuit Breaker Trips Off
Application: Troubleshooting a Home Circuit Problem.
Skill Level: Advanced – Licensed Electrical Contractor, Not Recommended for Homeowners.
Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools, voltage tester and protective safety gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the make and model of the panel and the condition of the existing electrical circuit breakers and wiring methods.
Precaution: For safety, the main circuit breaker should be turned off or any other disconnect means that would turn off the power to the panel before replacing a circuit breaker.
Important: Turning off the main circuit breaker may not turn off the power to all of the areas of the panel components and wiring. This is an extensive project that requires experience and should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Notice: Making changes to electrical panel or electric circuits should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
A Circuit Breaker that Trips Off is an Indication of an Electrical Problem
Circuit breakers are technically an over current protection device. Circuit breakers protect an electrical circuit and it’s components from being damaged against conditions such as circuit overload, a shorted circuit, and some equipment failures. One of the most important features of a circuit breaker is that it helps prevent wiring from overheating which can lead to a fire.
Circuit breakers rarely go bad or need replacing. When a circuit breaker trips OFF it is most likely due to one of the items mentioned above, including circuit over load or a shorted wire. In this case the question describes wiring connections that appear to be correct, so I would suspect that one of the wires may have been pinched during the installation, or something is wrong with one of the connections, so the installation and wiring connections need to be inspected for the fault and repaired as needed.
How to Fix a Tripping Circuit Breaker
- Identify a faulty device that is causing the circuit to trip and remove it from the circuit.
- Identify a device or equipment that is causing the circuit to overload and remove it from the tripping circuit.
- Install an additional circuit to provide power for a device or equipment that consumes a large amount of power or requires a dedicated circuit.
More about Circuit Breakers
- Home Electrical Circuit Breakers
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
- House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
- Testers to Help Solve Electrical Problems
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring Types of Electrical Testers
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!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 that I use to easily Detect 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.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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