Whenever there is too much electricity flowing through a circuit, the circuit breakers protecting the circuit are designed to cut off the flow of electricity. This will normally happen for one of the following reasons:
- A circuit breaker is damaged or broken
- The circuit has become overloaded
- A circuit is shorted out
Damaged or Broken Circuits
Every now and then, circuit breakers will wear down, requiring replacement. Although a skilled do-it-yourselfer can do this themselves, it is recommended that you have it done by an electrician.
Circuit is Overloaded
When the flow of current in a circuit reaches a certain point, it will cause the circuit to become overloaded. When left unchecked, this can lead to overheating, fire and/or electrical shock. To protect you from this danger, your circuit breaker is designed to detect any overloads and stop the flow of power. If you experience frequent overloaded circuits, you should see if you can remove some of the appliances that are plugged into the circuit. Alternatively, you can have a qualified electrician add additional wiring and circuits in order to support your appliances.
Whenever two wires come into contact with each other, it will cause a circuit to short out. Whenever these wires are connected to a circuit breaker, this will cause the breaker to immediately flip off. If you have a system that uses fuses, this will cause a fuse to blow.
The best way to figure out what shorted your circuit is to examine what you were doing immediately before the circuit shorted out. If you had just recently plugged in or turned on a new electrical device, there is a good chance that it caused the short.
When this is the case, unplug the device and reset your circuit breaker or replace the fuse. If this fixes the problem, then your job is done.
If your breaker continues to trip off, and you cannot find an appliance that is causing this, then you will need to call an electrician to troubleshoot and repair the short circuit.