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A Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset—What It Means

electrical-panelWinter is the time when the most stress is put on a household electrical system. Even once all the holiday lights are unplugged and stored for the season, a house still uses more power for lighting and the HVAC system then at any other time of the year. So don’t be too surprised if you encounter a tripped circuit breaker at some point in the winter.

The good news is you can reset the breaker, and that usually ends the trouble.

But not always. You might run into a problem with a circuit breaker that won’t stay in the closed position. We’re going to examine why this occurs in homes, since there are several sources for it. If you have any doubts about what’s happening, don’t hesitate to call for an electrician in Clifton, NJ. It’s dangerous to try to diagnose and repair an electrical problem on your own.

Main Reasons for a Breaker That Won’t Reset

The source for the stubborn circuit breaker are varied—some simple, some complicated.

Appliances are overloading the circuit

The purpose of circuit breakers is to prevent damage to the electrical system and wiring by stopping excess voltage flow. When a circuit trips, the first assumption is that it happened because of an overload on the circuit. I.e. the circuit breaker doing its job. Check what part of the house the tripped breaker is for and see what appliances are plugged into it. One of them may be faulty and caused the overload. Unplug the items, then reset the breaker. Plug in the items again and turn them to see if one is creating the overload.

One common source of an overload is the HVAC system’s blower fan. If turning on the heating system causes the tripped breaker, you’ll need to schedule repairs with an HVAC technician.

Short circuits

One of the fastest ways to trip a circuit breaker is an electrical short along the circuit, such as arcing occurring in an outlet. This is again the breaker doing its job. If it keeps tripping, you may have serious electrical shorts occurring in the house. Leave the breaker in the “off” position and call in a professional electrician to locate the short and fix it. A short can turn into a fire hazard if left unattended to.

The breaker itself is faulty

This is not as common a problem, but it does happen. The breaker may be worn down and easily tripped by normal voltage. The breaker can be repaired or replaced, but only a licensed electrician can do this job.

The electrical panel is old

A breaker that won’t stay closed can also be a warning that the entire electrical panel needs to be upgraded. Just because your home has a circuit breaker panel rather than an antiquated fuse box doesn’t mean the panel is able to handle the electrical load. During the 1990s, several faulty panels were installed in homes and they cannot handle the modern increase in electrical demand. When you call an electrician, they can examine the panel and inform you if an upgrade to a new panel is the best choice.

Call an electrician trusted for over 25 years. Anderson Electric Corp. serves Northern Jersey.

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