What To Do When The Main Circuit Breaker Trips Off
How to Identify an Electrical Problem: Tripping Main Circuit Breaker or Blown Fuse, What to do About a Home Electrical Problem.
Tripping Main Circuit Breaker
Electrical Question: The main switch in the fuse box has shut off three times, what could cause this?
- I live in a house built in 1970.
- In the past two days, the main switch in the fuse box has shut off three times.
- What could cause this and what is the best way to repair the problem?
This home electrical question came from: Kandi, a Homeowner from Houston, Texas.
Thanks for your electric wiring question Kandi.
Troubleshooting the Cause of a Tripping Main Circuit Breaker
Application: Electrical Troubleshooting, Testing Electrical Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester or Continuity Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on experience and level of problem solving skills.
Precaution: Testing live wires is dangerous and should be done by an experienced individual only. Testing using a continuity tester should only be made after the circuit has been identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Tripped Main Breakers and Electrical Circuit Problems
- A main circuit breaker can trip off for a variety of reasons, including a direct short within the home electrical system, or an over loaded condition of the electrical system.
- The cause of the tripping circuit breaker can be isolated simply by turning off all the other circuit breakers, resetting the main circuit breaker, and then turn on the other circuit breakers one at a time.
- When the circuit breaker has been turned which has a fault or direct short then the main circuit breaker will trip off again.
- Identify the circuit breaker that caused the main circuit breaker to trip off and leave the affected circuit breaker off, then once again, reset the main circuit breaker and turn on all of the other circuit breakers.
What to do about a Electrical Circuit Problem
- Now that the problem circuit has been identified the cause of the problem will need to be discovered.
- The panel index should indicate what the problem circuit is being used for which will be start the process of investigation about what may have recently been connected to this circuit, or if existing components are at fault.
- If the problem circuit supplies power to several devices such as outlets or lights then there many be a problem with one of the devices, so the faulty device will need to be identified and repaired.
- If the problem circuit is an isolated circuit that supplies power to one specific unit then the unit will need to be tested and inspected to identify the fault and the necessary repairs will be required.
- In depth testing and analysis may be required to locate the fault.
- Electrical faults are best discovered by an experienced licensed electrical contractor who preform the required corrections or repairs to get the home electrical system functioning properly.
More about Circuit Breakers, Panels, and Electrical Troubleshooting
- Electrical Circuit Breaker
- 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.
- Troubleshooting Electrical Wiring
- Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
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 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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