How to Fix a Tripping Circuit Breaker at Home

by Earl S

Power trips are a common occurrence in Singaporean homes and can pose electrical emergencies for homeowners. When the current in a circuit breaker exceeds the recommended threshold, the electric supply is automatically cut off. 

Although power trips serve to protect wiring and appliances from damage, they can lead to inconvenient blackouts. This article aims to explore the reasons behind power trips in circuit breakers and provide effective solutions to address them, ensuring a more reliable and uninterrupted power supply for homeowners.

 

Why Does The Circuit Breaker Keep Tripping?

Short Circuit

One of the main causes of circuit breaker trips is a short circuit. A short circuit occurs when the hot wire (black) comes into contact with the neutral wire (white), resulting in an abnormal surge of current. This can often be accompanied by burning smells or discolouration. Damaged insulation on electrical wiring or faulty appliances and lighting components can also contribute to short circuits when connected to outlets.

Ground Fault 

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Another common cause of power trips is a ground fault, which occurs when the circuit breaker’s hot wire makes contact with the ground. This lowers the resistance and leads to increased current flow, potentially causing the circuit breaker to trip. 

A ground fault can also occur when the hot wire (black) comes into contact with a metallic object. Ignoring general electricity safety precautions can result in ground faults, which pose significant risks such as electrical shocks from switches or sockets.

Overloaded Electric Circuit

overloaded-electrical-circuit-how-to-fix-a-tripping-circuit-breaker-at-home-circuit-breaker-services-savvyhome-singapore

An overloaded electric circuit is a primary reason for power trips. When the current exceeds the rated capacity of the wiring, it can lead to damage and pose a fire hazard. In order to prevent potential fires, circuit trips occur as a safety measure.

Connecting multiple electrical appliances to a power supply can also cause tripping. An example of this is a malfunctioning appliance, which is using more power than it should be. This increases the load on the power supply and then causes the circuit breaker to trip.

 

How to Fix a Power Trip

technician-fixing-circuit-breaker-how-to-fix-a-tripping-circuit-breaker-at-home-circuit-breaker-services-savvyhome-singapore

Short Circuit

When it comes to power trips, resolving a short circuit is often more difficult compared to an overload-induced trip. A short circuit involves a sudden surge of current, leading to burning smells, discolouration, and potential damage. Additionally, during rainy seasons, increased moisture levels or wet walls can contribute to short circuits. Homeowners without the necessary expertise and tools should seek professional assistance to identify and repair any concealed wiring damage.

To address this issue effectively, follow these steps:

  • Switch off all electrical outlets and carefully inspect power points and sockets for any signs of discolouration or unusual smells.
  • Thoroughly check the insulation of the wiring for any damage or wear. Replace or repair any compromised wiring.
  • Examine all appliances for damage or odour. If an appliance is suspected to be causing the short circuit, it should be repaired or replaced.

It’s important to note that identifying damage in concealed wiring can be challenging for homeowners. In such cases, it is highly recommended to engage the services of a licensed and experienced electrician who can accurately detect and repair any short circuits or damage to the electrical wiring. 

Ground Fault 

To effectively address a power trip caused by a ground fault, follow these steps:

  • Switch off all appliances and disconnect them from the electric circuit.
  • Turn on the circuit breaker.
  • If the circuit breaker does not trip, connect each appliance to the circuit individually. When the defective appliance is connected, the circuit breaker will trip.
  • Repair or replace the faulty appliance to prevent further ground faults.

If the circuit breaker continues to trip, it may indicate underlying electrical wiring mistakes. In such cases, it is recommended to contact a reliable electrician to inspect and rectify any wiring issues.

Overloaded Electric Circuit 

To effectively tackle a power trip caused by an overloaded electric circuit, follow these steps:

  • Switch off all electronic appliances, gadgets, and light installations in your home.
  • Gradually switch on low-power consumption electrical devices.
  • Slowly add high-power consumption appliances, noting which appliance causes the power trip.
  • The appliance responsible for the power trip should be connected to another electric circuit to avoid subsequent trips. 
  • Alternatively, consider upgrading the electrical wiring and hardware to accommodate the additional power load. While waiting for the upgrade, minimize the use of power-consuming appliances and consider switching off other appliances when only one is in use.

 

Conclusion

Power trips are a common electrical emergency caused by short circuits, ground faults, and overloaded circuits. In guides on how to reset and restore electricity due to power trips, it is mentioned that homeowners should inspect power points, sockets, and appliances for damage or smells. To ensure a reliable and safe power supply at home, it is also important to address and understand the causes of tripping circuit breakers.

In the case of ground faults and short circuits, a helpful approach is to disconnect and reconnect appliances one by one, identifying and repairing or replacing any faulty ones. Additionally, you should also check the individual wire insulation in both cases. 

If the circuit breaker continues to trip, seeking professional help is recommended. Similarly, in the case of overloaded circuits, gradually reconnecting low-power devices can help pinpoint the cause. If you address these causes, you can maintain a dependable and secure power system. 

By understanding the common causes of power trips and implementing the appropriate solutions, homeowners can effectively troubleshoot these issues and maintain a reliable and uninterrupted power supply in their homes. Remember, if you encounter difficulties or are unsure about handling electrical repairs, it is always best to seek professional assistance from licensed electricians to ensure safety and the proper solutions.

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