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Mister Sparky Electric Blog

Circuit Breaker Basics

Being able to reset a tripped circuit breaker is a crucial skill for ALL homeowners. Consider this blog tripped circuit breaker 101 — like any good survey course, we’ll give you a little theory and the hands-on knowledge you need.

When your circuit breaker trips offline, cutting your power, it doesn’t do it to annoy you — it’s a safety feature. When appliances and electronics draw too much voltage they create a slim risk of an electrical fire in your electrical system.

To eliminate that risk, your circuit breaker is designed to trip offline when the electrical demand exceeds a safe, pre-determined voltage. Just because you tripped the circuit breaker doesn’t mean you were doing anything dangerous. Your circuit breaker serves as a safety precaution — think about it like a seat belt for your home.

Learn the step by step process to reset a tripped circuit breaker.

circuit breaker panel

Tripped Circuit Breaker Reset: Step-by-Step

Step 1: Find your circuit breaker box. In the vast majority of homes, this will be located in your garage or basement.

Step 2: Open the circuit breaker panel and find the tripped circuit breaker or breakers. The tripped circuit breaker will appear in the TRIPPED position. In the vast majority of circuit breakers, the tripped position is in the middle between ON and OFF.

Step 3:  Flip the tripped circuit breaker completely to the OFF position.

Step 4: Flip the tripped circuit breaker completely to the ON position.

Step 5: Test an appliance from the tripped circuit.

If you’re sure you’ve reset your circuit breaker correctly, and you still don’t have power, then it means you may have a bigger electrical system problem.

Reasons Your Tripped Circuit Breaker Fails to Reset

  1. Because your circuit breaker is malfunctioning, interpreting an electrical danger where there isn’t one. You’ll likely need to replace this outdated panel.
  2. The other reason you can’t reset your tripped circuit breaker is because there really is an electrical fire hazard – your circuit breaker trips as soon as you reset it to keep you safe.

Either way, you need to bring out a Mister Sparky electrician. Our knowledgeable electrician can determine if your circuit breaker is outdated and giving off a false alarm — or if your electrical system really is a fire hazard.

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