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Circuit Breaker Tripped and Won’t Reset: What Do You Do?

Circuit breakers can trip for any number of reasons.

That’s why, at some point, just about everyone will have to deal with this inconvenience.

Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a situation where your circuit breaker has tripped but won’t reset. In that case, you’ll need to do a little extra work to safely bring power back.

3 Steps to Take When a Circuit Breaker Is Tripped and Won’t Reset

The good news is that you shouldn’t have to do too much extra work.

Instead, just follow these three steps to successfully bring your circuit breaker back to life.

1. Make Sure You’re Not Demanding Too Much Power

You’d be surprised how many people never consider this first step when their circuit breaker is tripped and won’t reset. Many even move right on to calling an electrician.

Before you resort to that, the first thing you absolutely must do is check to see how much power you’re trying to draw from your circuits.

The amount a circuit can handle will be different depending on the type of building in question. For a home, it’s usually about 120 volts and 15 amps. That kind of circuit should have no problem drawing up to 1,440 watts at a time.

Add up the total wattage from all the fixtures and appliances that rely on a specific breaker to see if it exceeds the amount allotted to it. This number is usually printed right on your appliances.

If you find that the circuit is overloaded, there’s your problem.

2. Check Your Wires

Another common problem is a wire that is worn out or has simply become loose. You should be able to remove the cover on your light switches to see if your wires are damaged. One of the most common reasons for a circuit breaker that tripped and won’t reset is just that light fixture wires have become overheated and need to be replaced.

3. It Might Be the Circuit Itself

Finally, it could be that the circuit itself is no longer working properly. This happens a lot in old houses and buildings. Even high-quality circuits eventually need to be replaced.

If you’re comfortable replacing the circuit in question, start there before you think about replacing the entire circuit breaker. Just be sure to cut off the power to the panel first so you don’t risk electrocution.

Speak to a Professional if This Is a Reoccurring Problem

With all this being said, sometimes, your circuit breaker has tripped and won’t reset because of a reason you won’t be able to fix on your own. If this problem happens regularly and there’s no obvious culprit, it’s probably time to call a professional.

While you may or may not need a brand new circuit breaker, it’s most likely to be the former if you keep working on yours and end up doing greater damage. Call an experienced electrician to take a look at your unit and you won’t have to worry about the problem for much longer.