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.© By: Dave Rongey
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.
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