Here's Exactly What to Do If Your Circuit Breaker Won't Reset Properly
- Nov 24, 2017
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We’ve all had trouble getting our circuit breakers to properly reset after it trips.
And we all know just how frustrating it can be zeroing in on what caused it in the first place.
That’s why we have made this quick and handy guide on what to do if your circuit breaker won’t reset properly to help you get your electricity flowing again.
First Thing’s First, Don’t Ignore It!
When most people encounter a tripped breaker, the first thing they do is simply try and flip it back on without changing anything.
They then continue to do the exact same thing they were doing before (e.g. vacuuming with a phone charger plugged into the same outlet, running the blender along with the TV), only to have their breaker to trip again.
This, however, is missing the point of the circuit breaker entirely.
A circuit breaker is an electrical safety device. That means that every time it trips, it’s trying to tell you that something electrical is wrong in your home.
In fact, refusing to address the problem that a circuit breaker is alerting you to is one of the main causes for the 51,000 home electrical fires that happen each year.
As such, the very first step in dealing with a tripped circuit breaker is actually doing something about it.
Circuit Breaker Won’t Reset? Do the Unplug Test!
The number one culprit for a tripped breaker is a voltage overload.
Maybe you have a toaster, a coffee maker, and a food processor all plugged into a single outlet and all running at the exact same time.
If your power has gone out and your circuit breaker won’t reset properly, you may just be overloading the circuit entirely.
The best way to test for this is by turning off the breaker, unplugging everything from the circuit, and then turning it back on.
Once that’s done, start plugging in your appliances one by one, checking the breaker in between each.
You may find that this circuit, in particular, can only handle the toaster and the food processor alone. If that’s the case, try to spread out your electricity consumption over multiple outlets rather than cramming all of them on to a single one.
Remember that a tripped breaker must first be turned off to reset it and then back on. Otherwise, it will just stay tripped.
Test the Breaker Itself
The next step if the breaker continues to trip even when no appliances or devices are plugged in is to test the breaker itself. This requires removing the breaker box panel entirely so if you’re uncomfortable with this, it may be time to call in an electrician.
Essentially, you’ll want to test the voltage levels running through the circuit breaker itself to determine whether the breaker is at fault or if it’s actually the wiring. You can do so by connecting the red lead on a multimeter to the breaker and the black lead to the neutral bar.
For a more in-depth guide on checking the breaker itself, have a look at how to check a circuit breaker properly.
Resetting Your Circuit Breaker Is a Snap
Taking the time to really investigate why your circuit breakers tripped in the first place is key to resetting the breakers properly. What’s more, it’s also key to spotting and preventing a host of other electrical dangers that may come about as a result.
All it takes is a little bit of work and you’ll have the lights back on in no time flat.